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POOR GENETIC MATERIAL

Crossover Prog • Germany


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Poor Genetic Material picture
Poor Genetic Material biography
Founded in 2000

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL has been working in two very different directions. The original duo / trio performed experimental that resulted in the two "free to random" recordings. As a full five-piece band PGM plays more song-oriented material. This line-up has recorded the 2001 album "Summerland" and the new album "Leap Into Fall".

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POOR GENETIC MATERIAL discography


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POOR GENETIC MATERIAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.71 | 7 ratings
Free to Random, Vol. 1
1999
3.20 | 5 ratings
Free to Random, Vol. 2 - Modern Myths
2000
3.08 | 14 ratings
Summerland
2001
3.06 | 14 ratings
Leap into Fall
2002
3.91 | 15 ratings
Winter's Edge
2003
3.33 | 6 ratings
Free to Random
2005
3.88 | 21 ratings
Spring Tidings
2006
3.04 | 10 ratings
Paradise Out of Time
2007
3.35 | 25 ratings
Island Noises
2011
3.85 | 35 ratings
A Day in June
2013
3.95 | 23 ratings
Absence
2016
3.65 | 21 ratings
Here Now
2020
4.00 | 4 ratings
Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition
2021
3.11 | 8 ratings
Elsewhere
2023
4.00 | 2 ratings
Anywhere
2023
3.80 | 6 ratings
Possibilities
2024

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Chalkhill Blues
2016
3.25 | 3 ratings
The Star
2020
4.05 | 3 ratings
Stargazing
2020
3.00 | 1 ratings
Red Bird of the South
2022

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Possibilities by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.80 | 6 ratings

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Possibilities
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars Initially chronicled on ProfilProg: POOR GENETIC MATERIAL explores rock by experimenting with sounds that are much more complex than one might think.

"Possibilities" symphonic entry with the organ, Philip's didgeridoo, Stefan's solo appetizer and the Floydian air; a gradual drift that flows smoothly. The Teutonic voice, you will have to get used to it; orchestral ambient break with rolling drums, latent bass for a sophisticated Oldfieldian moment before Pia's flute; of the crossover la BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. "Rain" a Hackettian arpeggio before the percussion entry and Dominik who gives it his all; the organ smells like that of BANKS; consensual ballad and chorus reminiscent of another from GENESIS second version; break which breaks the rhythm and sends on a tortured keyboard solo; flute and vocals for a soft return to the melody, a few touches of ALAN PARSONS and the airy, intoxicating chorus.

"A Spark of Ideas" the sound echoes, tune starting loud; the orchestration is meaningful, effective, a guitar solo behind it like TANGERINE DREAM did so well, bang oriental break, bluffing; the tune starts with a disconcerting bluesy guitar solo, warm with the Mellotron in the background; the nervous guitar brings the most, helped by Dennis' bass which keeps the direction; very good piece. "Old Buffoon" for the radio edit worthy of the BEATLES, the bucolic sound with Martin from BEGGARS OPERA on vocals, taking the tune to that of 'Seaside Rendez-Vous' by QUEEN, to the recognizable one of GENESIS, an Anglican title incidentally.

"An Island in Time" begins without waves; consensual tune, chorus by ALAN PARSONS; acoustic arpeggio and flute break, it smells of reminiscences of Mike OLDFIELD; the second break with a languorous Frippian guitar returns to the bewitching vintage sound; chorus with warm choirs then flute solo surrounded by roaring bass and metronomic drums; Stephan's guitar solo is complex, followed by a piano variation becoming the centerpiece playing with stereoscopic notes, crystal clear for the spleen moment; final tormented jazz-rock guitar solo la AGUSA leading to "Contingency" with a PINK FLOYD tune; the flute appears supported by Dominik's demonstrative drums; tune from KING CRIMSON's 'Discipline' with Philip's languorous voice; title led by Pia to continue to captivate us.

 Here Now by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 21 ratings

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Here Now
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars "Here Now" energetic title, almost danceable, rhythmic, dynamic, flute halfway through, melodic metal prog with keyboards and tortured guitar, title calibrated to go on a quick journey, a synthetic condensation between GENESIS, KING CRIMSON and a little of choruses from QUEEN, it looks pretty good; the emotion is quickly assimilated in the air. "Serendipity" is a more relaxed, rhythmic track but also more about Phil's voice and the Frippian guitar. Finale with soaring percussions, if possible, a little BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST even, always a little synthetic in the vein of a TEARS FOR FEARS, flute at the end to disturb you in your musical approach. "The Waiting Game" arrives with a dark, melancholy intro, tortured sounds, spleen then it sets off on a more frank rhythm, with the voice put forward to give into the meditative lullaby. Clear percussions, soft voice suddenly, then exchange between bass, keyboard and guitar, all joined by Pia's angelic flute; the dark and Frippian side of the guitar notes mix with a warm synth at the end until a melancholy solo of the most beautiful effect, too short, I put the replay on. "Note From My Younger Self" and a dark intro on piano and flute, majestic; raised by the organ for a rhythmic, choppy tune, filled with instruments; musical breaks come and go highlighted by a dynamic bass la Greg LAKE; an intimate and airy climate emerges in the middle, symphonic and grandiloquent, note that the voice increasingly resembles that of Michael from SAGA with a long, powerful final crescendo.

"The Garden" arrives with its centerpiece of more than 13 minutes, divided into 5 parts: it's beautiful from the start, it's unlike any other group, we're good with PGM there! The presence of Martin (the father) gives a divine resonance by bringing the voice of BEGGAR'S OPERA back to life, we are immersed in uncompromising prog, without boredom and without guessing as to the sequel, bam a bit of SPARKS or STYX from a suddenly, when I was talking about QUEEN earlier I confirm; it goes in all directions with a sudden lyrical surge, screeching engine noises, PINK FLOYD-like sounds in return, voice that returns to SAGA but who is actually singing? Break with voice, bass and well-anchored flute, the synth adds a dark side with cascading piano notes; the final part is a little easier with a long instrumental sequence which is a little fishy given what was on offer until dessert! "This Place" for the last piece of the album with the same sequence, voice, flute and keyboard then central break with this flute used in the most beautiful way in my opinion after an introduction to the church organ, flute except to be better highlighted. A plus to the voice again and the endless guitar solo and final piano arpeggio to make you melt.

 Elsewhere by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.11 | 8 ratings

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Elsewhere
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars POOR GENETIC MATERIAL is a long lived German band that likes to clump albums by themes, from random electronics to the seasons to epic authors to....? Perhaps the current cycle is about travelling in time as we are wont to do in our minds as we age, resulting in our absences, in our being present in the here and now, in our being elsewhere, all within a 5 minute conversation. As a result, they mark a return to roots if you will, to dreamy, airy extended pieces that float like a languid thought bubble over a cartoon senior.

With this latest installment, the rhythm section is missing so all percussions are presumably electronic, and somehow the music seems both bluesier and more ambient than ever. This in itself is a feat but for me, personally, it doesn't make for an engrossing listen especially relative to most of the group's impressive discography. The lack of flute is also problematic as it has imparted welcome delicacy to the last half dozen or so albums. The lyrical messages seem to be telegraphed through suppression of the accompaniment and crystalline enunciations, especially in the epic title cut. Often I find myself not aware of a piece until it is almost over, and give it another whirl with similar results. The lovely melodies and punchy numbers that characterize the group history are curtailed. Luckily "The Colour of Happiness" is a joy as are the two previously released songs, "The Star" and "Stargazing", thought provoking and engaging. While some passages in others are undeniably appealing, the overall effect of "Elsewhere" is to make me feel guilty about being right back where I started 50 minutes later.

 Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Back in 2006 this was the first album I came across from Poor Genetic Material, although it was in fact their sixth full- length. These days it is viewed as one of their best albums, but the band were never happy with the sound so decided to remix it for a 15th anniversary release. However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems with the drum tracks having to be transferred from technology no longer available while the keyboard tracks could not be rescued at all and would need to be re-recorded. If they wanted to reissue this on vinyl there was another challenge in that it was too short for a double album yet too long for a single, so what should they do? In the end they decided to go for a re-imagining, so we have here a shortened resequenced version of the album with new flute and keyboards, with the whole thing then being remastered.

The result is something which of course is very closely related indeed to the original, but to my ears is somewhat punchier, while the sound has of course been improved. I must confess to having heard only another 3 of their albums over the years, but there is no doubt that this new revitalised version of 'Spring Tidings' is the best. It is rightly viewed as Crossover Prog as it contains elements of different sub genres, with symphonic nestling happily alongside neo, plus that touch of commerciality which makes this such a smooth release to listen to. With years of playing some of this material behind him, Philipp had added additional depth with the new keyboards, with a wonderful mic of styles and sounds with the Mellotron making its presence warmly felt, while Phil's vocals are that much clearer in this version, Stefan's guitars have that much more bite while the rhythm section keeps it all together. There are times when I was being reminded of classic Saga, and I came away from this wondering why it is so long since I played the original (which is on my shelves) as I had forgotten just how good this was.

If you have ever to come across PGM then this is a wonderful place to start.

 Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Spring Tidings - 15th Anniversary Edition
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Well, That Changes Everything

Do Not Get Lulled

Warning! Expectations set too low, too sweet, will be rudely intersected with menace, darkness, and complexity. In this 15th Anniversary Edition of "Spring Tidings" from veteran German symphonic progressive quintet POOR GENETIC MATERIAL, a "simple" rearrangement becomes a new album.

Something quite different.

And Another Thing!

I'm fighting temptations right and left. For instance, due to the title "Spring Tidings" I'm tempted to dismiss the symphonic progressive twists and turns and tempo changes and shifts of mood and ever-changing terrain of keyboard richness/guitar textures/complex rhythm section replete with accomplished drumming and hard-charging bass lines- 'well, that's to be expected.'

And then regarding the lyrics, which if you wish to stay sublimely unaware and lazily entertained Do. Not. Read.- but if you take the bait and do a little mental work, well then, the temptation is to write a 15 page paper (with references, typed, double-spaced) on all the allusions, ideas, and themes which emerge.

Because the lyrics, like the music, push the listener into quite unexpectedly dark and dangerous terrain- "Spring Tidings", my a$$!

No Spring Picnic

Or is it just me- here as I write this in actual spring, in KS, USA, on a chilly, wet, dark-hued day with the threat of flooding in the forecast- just the mood I'm in, or am I seeing, reading, hearing multiple levels of music and ideas and experiences- which by the way strike me as a brand-new entity from the original 2006 version of "Spring Tidings"?

But I Will not Yield!

To temptation, that is. No, I doubt if you read album reviews for an in-depth look at the compositional machinations of skilled high-level musicians in mature stride, or for an incisive review of the poetic and lyrical aspects of emerging themes within the text given- the water/sea/rain/solitary drops/puddles/sweat/rivers...the views on life and death, the shadow aspect of living and dying in the psyche...

Wait, damn it, there I go, giving in!

To Further Complicate Matters

For simple minds like mine, that is- there are now THREE versions of "Spring Tidings"! The 2006 original, the newly minted vinyl edition with six tracks in a different order; and the CD version with eight tracks- and all of these to one extent or another, 'different'.

In a way this is emblematic of one of the motifs suggested by this album- set to gorgeous, lush symphonic progressive music, nearly impressionistic lyrics suggest that springtime represents something much deeper and darker and more subjective than any romanticized notion of flowers blooming, birds singing, and new life springing up.

Three versions of many possible versions, any one of these possible, any number of them to be found somewhere at some time- and hopefully one of these will be a hopeful, lustrous springtime that represents a true "city of light...the city to end all night."

My Rating

Four lustrous stars- an "Excellent addition to any progressive rock collection"- and one that may be be experienced (in three versions!) over and over again.

 Here Now by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 21 ratings

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Here Now
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars German prog band Poor Genetic Material are back with their twelfth album, their first in four years, but there again the band have slowed down somewhat in recent times and no longer produce an album a year like they did for their first eight releases. It is the same recording unit which has been in place for years, while singer Phil Griffiths has again invited his father Martin (from the legendary Beggars Opera) to guest on a number as well. This is all mellow stuff, with multiple layers being set down for Phil to lay his vocals. He is a great singer, and also sets himself up with plenty of backing vocals which take the music into an almost 10CC direction. Due to the layering, it means that when an instrument manages to cut through it has an immediate and impressive impact, whether that is a finger popping bass note or a delicate flute. There are Mellotrons at play, distant lead guitars, and a pop/prog mentality which both makes this album feel rather lightweight and highly enjoyable at the same time.

This is not music where the listener needs to settle in for multiple plays, but rather is one where they can find themselves smiling on the very first time of playing the opening title track, with the smile getting that little wider the more they listen. I do wish there were more in the way of dynamics and depth in the material, and there are times when some of the early Eighties' influences are a little too overt, and Pallas in their early days are an obvious reference. I would have liked to have had a little more crunch and a little less polish, as I am sure these songs would not come across quite like this in a live environment. All that to one side, this is an incredibly enjoyable album, smack bang in the middle of the Crossover sub-genre, with the odd neo prog influences here and there. Maybe not one for the traditionalists, but a nice listen all the same.

 Here Now by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 21 ratings

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Here Now
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars POOR GENETIC MATERIAL is like the carpenter with 12 toolboxes, each highly specialized, who cannot remember which toolbox does what, so has to open all of them. Luckily, this seems to delight the listener while apparently not aggravating the carpenter nearly as much as one might expect. Embarras du choix. Put another way, they have about 5 lead instruments give or take, because, after all, Phillip Griffiths' voice could swallow up about 5 average prog vocalists, if he didn't have flawlessly good taste that is. Lyrically erudite as well, he either insists on or is aggressively encouraged to bring in his dad Martin of BEGGARS OPERA fame at least once an album who manages to simultaneously raise the bar and make Phillip sound better! Oh dear I suppose that makes 6 instruments doesn't it? No matter. Open up the boxes!

Thematically, "Here Now" seems like the antonym and antidote for predecessor "Absence". The here and now is all we have, and, particularly in the centerpiece "The Garden" (sung by papa who name checks my favourite Beggars Opera track), the present has the capacity to be anything but a gift to the more sensitive among us. But who says we can't create our own, better reality, even if just for a vacation, or an evening for that matter? Musically, "Here Now" kicks off simply, with a string of shorter and progressively better tracks that converge while remaining well demarcated. As before, the group plies its trades comfortably at the intersection of simple and complex melodies, verse chorus structures and variegated suites, spacey ambience and funk, chill and edgy, solos and ensemble. My personal favourite is the touching "Note from my Younger Self", the complete package encapsulating all of the above.

In typical PGM fashion, all will be revealed in time, in my case almost 6 months, not that I think I have it, or anything figured out for that matter. But I can tell you that the arrangements, in particularly how Pia Darmstaedter's flute comingles with each other lead as called for, continue to mature, which might not be a requirement for this fan, but, inasmuch as it makes the band more likely to stick around for another decade or so, I'm all for it. Oh yeah sorry, I am just happy they are here now.

 Here Now by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 21 ratings

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Here Now
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Veteran Outfit Hits Stride

Poor Genetic Material ISN'T

Consider the irony of skilled and devoted musicians collectively producing a dozen albums in their 20-plus years of existence- challenging each other and the listener not only with intelligent musicianship, but coupled with thought- provoking lyrics.

Perhaps with a gleam in the eye, they name the band, but...

NOT poor genetic material at all! Rather, to these ears, experienced musicians that demonstrate rather fine genetic material- and we're the better for it, and for them.

Here Now

Really it's all we have. The moment. The choice of how to use it.

For me, that's what Poor Genetic Material (PGM) explores herein.

And done with verve, endless ideas, flawless execution- from surprisingly catchy choruses, solid bass and drum foundations, atmospheric guitars, rich keyboard sounds including piano, synthesizer, mellotron, and organ- that rich full organ sound I so love- to excellent clean vocals done up in harmonies, counterpoints, call and response...

I Learned a Couple New Words

So along with the outstanding music and musicianship, the lyrics prove to be mind-bending and provocative. Concepts that need to be pondered.

And those words? "auspication", "vaticination"- and no, I'm not telling. Do your own damn homework.

So Here's My Thought

Some gems never get discovered. How PGM has remained under the radar for two decades? Can't explain. For me, it's a gift, a big wet kiss from this band to those of us willing to give it a fair hearing.

My Rating

4 Lustrous Stars- "excellent addition to any progressive rock collection".

 Stargazing by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Stargazing
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Written and performed by the "trio" version of POOR GENETIC MATERIAL (PGM) - Philip Griffiths (vocals), Stefan Glomb (guitars and bass), and Philipp Jaehne (keyboards and programming) - "Stargazing" is one of a series of singles-only releases springing from an abundance of material beyond that which can be included in the infrequent full length offerings by this long lived and much respected collaboration.

Well, it's certainly not for a lack of quality that "Stargazing" will remain a wallflower! It bears all the hallmarks that we have come to expect: the rich tone and reflective lyrics of PHILIP GRIFFITHS; the atmospheric support of the band's core composers and instrumentalists for the last 2 decades of enviable stability; and most of all that unmistakable grook. That's a word blend that could easily escape my lips when attempting to describe the cross between a hook and a groove that permeates PGM's work. It's like a subliminal "listen to me again, please" that seems implanted in the "private bit" of the MP3 itself. So I did, and I did again, and again and again, and I was glad. I'm especially fond of the rhythmic keyboard motifs and the unhurried and forgiving vocal passages that beckon me between summonses.

if you are wondering, the full band release of "Here Now" is due out in September. That's where talent like flautist Pia Darmstaedter and Philip's father MARTIN GRIFFITHS joins in. That should keep my eyes glazing (sic) at my calendar for the next month.

 The Star by POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
3.25 | 3 ratings

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The Star
Poor Genetic Material Crossover Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

3 stars It's All Relative

Creative People Must Create

There are things I simply can't understand. For example, that star. People with much bigger brains than me tell me it may not actually be there any more.

It may be long dead.

Staring into the enormous void, that star looks real. It exists. It appears to be glowing, intense, coldly sparkling in the vastness of space.

It's THERE.

Yet It Isn't

So, back to POOR GENETIC MATERIAL, and creativity.

POOR GENETIC MATERIAL has been a going concern since Anno Domine 2000. Apparently it began with the core musicians, singer Philip Griffiths, guitarist Stefan Glomb and keyboardist Philipp Jaehne.

These three creative, restless souls must create, despite the logistical challenges of gathering the FULL eight creative types, also collectively known as POOR GENETIC MATERIAL.

Got that? PGM-Core, if you will, this trio.

The single

We hear gentle acoustic guitar enter, then quirky keyboards, and soon reflective vocals. Percussive bass sounds add depth and the music builds.

A definite shift comes with electronic sound effects, a near-mystical feel of cosmic sounds, and a questing chorus. There are layers of keyboards and textures of piano, synthesizer, sound effects.

The lyrics

From the perspective of our very own star, the Sun, we are evaluated, taught, faced with the nearly inconceivable truths that although this seemingly constant source of heat and light- is fading away into nothingness.

So what do we actually know?

Is this something upon which we can depend? Is there something behind this cosmic drama- after all the Sun is but one in a mind-bending array of Suns in an ever-expanding universe (multi-verse?).

Is it random, or is it purposeful.

You know- simple stuff.

So, back to creativity once again

The "answer" in this song, is that there is "re"creation. From death, new life. How and why this happens- well, you. must decide for yourself.

My rating: 3 stars. The ideas are 'stellar', yet I wasn't gripped as the music didn't really push me into new dimensions.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to kev rowland for the last updates

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