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jalas View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Really long epics.
    Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:15
Epics have been a tradition in the prog scene for as long as prog has been around.  The best songs in the world(close to the Edge and Shine on in my opinion) are epics.  Some people are taking it to far though.  I say this after listening to "The Truth will set you Free" by the Flower Kings.  Did that song really have to take up 30 minutes?  Was it worth it spending my time listening to it?  That song always loses me 10 minutes into it. 
 
A good epic has to be able to satify and not leave you begging for more.  Close to the Edge is a good example.  The timing was just right to let a person appreciate the song as a whole without getting bored.  Don't ya'll think some bands should just shorten some of their songs?  I don't think it will take away in some cases.  Some epics can just be broken up into smaller and more enjoyable songs.
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Pnoom! View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:17
I'm not sure what you want others to post hereConfused.
 
Mind explaining?Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:19
I have also noticed recently that bands who fit their songs in 6-10 minutes are usually able to create the most coherent music.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:21
what about Solar Music = 20-40 minutes of awesome
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:22
TFK have done worse than that. The Garden of Dreams it's called, it's an hour long. It has several great moments, but over-all it's just too much. 30 minutes is fine with me, even 40, but 60 is hard to stomach. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:26
Originally posted by inpraiseoffolly inpraiseoffolly wrote:

I'm not sure what you want others to post hereConfused.
 
Mind explaining?Big smile
 
I guess I just want to know if people agree with me or am I just to impatient for half hour epics.  I want to know if people agree that Some bands are just taking the epic too far.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:28
1-5 minutes are too short
5-10 minutes are fine
10-20 minutes is great
20-30 minutes is fine
30-40 minutes is lame
40-50 minutes are Geek
50-60 minutes are Censored

But, album-long songs like "Thick As A Brick", "Amarok" etc. are fine.
Really short songs are also OK sometimes, like some songs on Trout Mask Replica
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The T View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 13:29
I agree 100% with the idea, though not with the example (The Truth by TFK is amazing for me).... But there are songs that could use a trimminng here and there, I can remember The Great Nothing by Spock's Beard, Driver's Seat by TFK (actually, they could trim it down to 5 minutes and it wouldn't work, it's the Kings' worst epic ever), ALL 4 in Yes' TAles from Topographic Oceans (they could've been perfect with just 18 minutes, there's too much pointless soloing), Dream Theater's The Glass Prison (it's just 13, but it could've been 0:30, it's so bad).... Arena's Moviedrome (2 less minutes would've been in order), IQ's The Narrow Margin from Subterranea (compare with the perfect Harvest of Souls from Dark Matter, and this one is actually longer!) ...most every Opeth track from Deliverance....
 
There could be too long epics....the best way to prove it is by listening to other longer and shorter songs: there are 20+ minutes songs that go by as if they lasted only 5 (DT's aA change of seasons), and there are 5 minute tracks that seem to last forever (OSI - Free "songs" - their first album was better)....
 
i think most of the times it's the soloing that causes this... we all love to hear beautiful, difficult, long solos, but musicians seem to think they can self-indulge in whatever wish they have to show off their skills and make great solos become boring, sleep-inducing instrumental-auto-pleasure (there's another, more explicit word for this).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 14:10
I remember reading somewhere that Mike Rutherford said of writing songs that it was easier to write really long ones than short ones, that writing a short song that says everything you want it to is really hard. In my experience of writing music for the various bands I've been in, the hardest thing to do is find a really good ending for a song. This might explain why some songs seem to go on for too long. In general I don't have a problem with ultra-long tracks so long as they don't meander or lose the point altogether. I think TFK do end up with tracks longer than they should have been and they are a struggle to really focus on throughout, and it would be true that nearly all of my favourite material tends to be no longer than twenty minutes long. Having said this, nothing any prog band has ever recorded in the way of an epic could make me fall asleep like some of the Mahler or Bruckner symphonies which seem to go on for days! Also there's a Mountain live version of " Nantucket Sleighride" whcih goes on for over half an hour and is quite terrible. Leslie West plays one of the longest and most boringly self indulgent solos I've ever heard.

Edited by baldy flapstick - November 02 2006 at 14:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 14:11
To be honest I don't really think it matter show long a song is if the music is constantly changing and new melodies are being introduced. I think it is wrong to look at the length of a song to judge how good it is and especially to discard a song and not listen to it becuae it is not under 30 minutes.

A good example of a brilliant long song is Amarok by Mike Oldfield. Meldoies are introduced and for around 5 or 6 minute they are elaboated upon and then another is introduced.

One more is Delirium Cordia - Fantomas.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 14:20
Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

1-5 minutes are too short
5-10 minutes are fine
10-20 minutes is great
20-30 minutes is fine
30-40 minutes is lame
40-50 minutes are Geek
50-60 minutes are Censored

But, album-long songs like "Thick As A Brick", "Amarok" etc. are fine.
Really short songs are also OK sometimes, like some songs on Trout Mask Replica


40-60 minutes long is album-long, isn't it?


Anyway, I agree with The T, it's not the length that's the problem. I enjoy Light of Day, Day of Darkness a lot more than I enjoy many other much shorter songs (Though I would trim a bit the female vocals in the middle or make them less annoying...).

Longer song mean that the artist has more time to blow it...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 14:28
It does not matter how long or short a piece is, just how good. A movement in a symphony can be 30 minutes long and every second of it is gripping (anyone for Mahler?) and a 5 minute Radiohead song can also be great. Thick as a Brick is not boring even one second. Most 3 minute pop songs are boring as hell. The problem is: a lot of bands nowadays are using long formats just to appeal to Prog fans without the content justifying the length. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 15:03
All this epic talk has got me thinking I'll fire up Light of Day, Day of Darkness here on my ipod.  A 60-minute beauty.  No track breaks. 

It's all a matter of taste.  If you can't stomach really long songs, don't buy them.  All these threads are good for is venting.  They don't change anybody's mind about anything.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 15:06
Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:


50-60 minutes are Censored

But, album-long songs like "Thick As A Brick", "Amarok" etc. are fine.

Bit of a contradiction there I feel. Amarok is just under 60 minutes.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 15:10
The longest track I ever owned was Todd Rundgren's 'A Treatise On Cosmic Fire'. Could have been called 'Scrambled Eggs'- a true travesty and prog rock at its worst. 36 minutes of endless, tedious synth twiddling.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 15:11
no i dont agree with you... a 60 minutes song can still be amazing.. it totally depends of the song... maybe it would be harder to get into it..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 15:44
Originally posted by Spiderprog Spiderprog wrote:

The problem is: a lot of bands nowadays are using long formats just to appeal to Prog fans without the content justifying the length.


Or purely as ego massage.


Edited by apinagez - November 02 2006 at 15:46
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 16:07
Originally posted by jalas jalas wrote:

Originally posted by inpraiseoffolly inpraiseoffolly wrote:

I'm not sure what you want others to post hereConfused.
 
Mind explaining?Big smile
 
I guess I just want to know if people agree with me or am I just to impatient for half hour epics.  I want to know if people agree that Some bands are just taking the epic too far.
 
Well, in that case, some epics are definitely too long, but as a general rule, an epic is good no matter the length so long as the music is good.
 
Case in point:  Thick as a Brick, Tubular Bells
 
Both over 40 minutes long, both 5 stars.
 
So I agree with you in some cases, but as long as there is variation and the music is good (and the lyrics), the epic works.
 
This leads me to my next point, that the reason why prog has so many more epics than other genres is because epics don't work in other genres.  They don't have the variation, only the intro verse chorus verse chorus verse chorus chorus chorus outtro formula, which isn't very interesting.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 16:14
I was listening to a five minute song from a band I don't like, and after it seemed to me that the song was half over, I looked and saw it was only a minute in.  Not a good thing.  However, when I listen to good epics, it will often be already four or five minutes in when I check the time.  For example, if the intro is good and pretty long, it doesn't seem so long.  Everything is relative.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 02 2006 at 16:24
Echoes by Pink Floyd is an excellent epic. It changes often enough to keep it interesting. 

Edited by Nowhere Man - November 02 2006 at 16:24
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