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Alberto Muñoz View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Getting estranged from prog
    Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:36
I do not feel estranged from prog, on the contrary i love to hear more and more new bands, but of course my prog preferences will always the 70's.


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Mr ProgFreak View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:56
BTW: I just finished some modifications at PF (you can now select more than one tag on the charts page) and the following list might contain some interesting albums for you, Friede:

http://progfreak.com/home/charts.xhtml?tags=avant_garde,experimental&g=rock&arpu=1

Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 11:20
Five years ago, I probably listened to prog about 60% of the time. Now, having added IQ, Mostly Autumn, Riverside, Iona and a few other really excellent bands to my listening agenda, it's well over 75%. I find myself even more attached to the genre now than at any time, becuase it shines out like a beacon of quality in a sea polluted predominantly by (c)rap, boy/girl bands, Indie garbage and X factor wannabes.
I have many faults. Being wrong is not one of them.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 12:03
Originally posted by BaldFriede

I don't know why, but I am getting more and more estranged from prog. It still has a place in my heart, but the development the music is taking in this genre makes me shy away from it. Or perhaps it is my own development, who knows?
.In any case, newer  artists in prog seem to have different opinions about what prog actually is than I. The few exceptions can be counted on the fingers of one hand. There are some old heroes who keep carrying the flag, but some of them have left the path of what is acceptable for me. And they are of course not getting any younger, which means there number becomes fewer with each year. Artists like The Red Masque, who in my opinion are by far the best of what cropped up in the last ten years, are few. (They get, by the way, far too little attention in here, in my honest opinion. The archives should hail them like some of the big bands of the 70s, and I mean it).
I find myself listening to classical music and jazz mostly these days. That is, I still listen to prog, but I am really missing new artists that keep the ball rolling. People have suggested some new artists to me, but they didn't really excite me. As I said, it may be just me (though Jean says she feels quite similar). There just is no real daring anymore, except from some of the old heroes.
Modern production adds to my discomfort with prog; it no longer sounds organic, it sounds artificial. Every single instrument is so clearly seperated from the other - that's not the way it sounds when you hear music being played live. Here the instruments blend into each other, making the whole thing sound organic. This is probably one of the reasons why I prefer live recordings to studio ones (especially modern studio recordings).
Is it just me, or is anyone else feeling like this?


Yep, sounds pretty familiar territory. With regards the modern production you speak of, I do agree that many new recordings sound anodyne or sterile to my ears. I think this might just boil down to the missing inherent warmth of yesterday's analogue gear which is recognized as an almost imperceptible and very subtle distortion that we humans find musically satisfying i.e the very lack of definition on much of 70's prog gives it an organic weight that we sense in the pit of our stomachs. This feeling is absent , for me at any rate, in purely digital recordings. It is no accident that in the age of Pro Tools etc, the most sought after mastering software are digital plugins that attempt to replicate the imperfections and colourisation of the old analogue gear. Engineers the world over, are spending thousands of dollars trying to 'degrade' their squeaky clean digital recordings to make them as appealing as those of yesteryear.

Of the modern prog bands touted in these very forums, I can only say that Porcupine Tree re In Absentia filled me with the same excitement as the original 70's giants, but after said milestone album PT appear to have ventured into a more metallic oriented direction. (Which ain't really my bag)

Scandinavia might just be the location where the 'keepers of the flame' might emanate from, given the fertile prog activity in that part of the world lately. However, although I do think that the likes of Flower Kings, Opeth, Wobbler, Black Bonzo etc are very talented imitators, their efforts to date can hardly qualify as innovative.

(But they're young - in prog terms - so don't give up hope)

As for what the next genuine development will be, who knows ? but I suspect that what we subsequently come to recognise as the next prog rock of the noughties, will sound neither like YES, ELP or even prog metal but a hybrid of electronic sounds wedded to developments in contemporary classical and jazz.

For what it's worth
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 12:06
I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 12:15
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.
 
I agree with you in most, in my teens i was more intolerant than today, now i'm more open and flexible to hear new music


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 12:20
I sometimes think It will be difficult to find new things in prog but I'm not afraid since I have to look for stuff like Gentle Giant,Spectrum,Gryphon,Etron Fou Leblan,Art Zoyd......Moreover krautrock managed to renew my interest in prog so next time Musica Electronica Viva,Cerberus Shoal.....will do so.I'm also looking for great 70's hard rock acts so I'm far from getting bored of progrock!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 12:23
Originally posted by Alberto Muñoz

Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.
 
I agree with you in most, in my teens i was more intolerant than today, now i'm more open and flexible to hear new music


I also was a bit less flexible in my teens - I would mostly listen to Metal and Hard Rock. But I soon got into Zappa and Dream Theater, and that opened me up to all kinds of styles. Too bad that I can't remember the proper sequence of my album purchases - it would show how my taste developed over time. <shameless plug>too bad I didn't have Progfreak.com back then!Wink</shameless plug>
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 13:02
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.

It has nothing at all to do with getting less flexible; I have extended my musical experience into areas I have not been before, so I am definitely not getting less flexible. Anyway, there are always two words for everything; what some call "flexibility" others may call "arbitrariness". There is a positive and a negative word for each human quality.

BaldJean and I; I am the one in blue.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 13:04
I experienced this too, and solved it by simply not listening to prog for about a year and a half. Then I started revisiting some old favourites, and started looking for old bands I hadn't yet heard. That kind of solved it for me.

Try to be open to other genres, "regular" music or whatever. It can seem impossible and uninteresting, but it could be worth a try if you feel stuck.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 13:37
Originally posted by BaldFriede

Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.

It has nothing at all to do with getting less flexible; I have extended my musical experience into areas I have not been before, so I am definitely not getting less flexible. Anyway, there are always two words for everything; what some call "flexibility" others may call "arbitrariness". There is a positive and a negative word for each human quality.


I'm very sure that I'm not just "arbitrary" ... I'm actually quite particular about what I like, and what I don't like. I'm not simply listening to anything.

But indeed I think you're lacking flexibility. A bit like my father in law, who hates onions. Only that he admits that it's a personal "flaw" or "quirk" that he hates onions ... he would never tell others to avoid onions. Yet you keep reminding people how ridiculous double bass drumming is ...

Let's not talk about special techniques or styles of music here, it's been done to death in other threads. But I think that it's a basic fact that the musical landscape has changed a lot over the last decades. The spirit of the original prog movement was indeed one of exploration and development, and when you look for modern prog music you should expect it to be really different from the original prog music. As far as The Red Masque is concerned, I'd even be tempted to call them Retro ... although I'll happily admit that their style is quite timeless, I would also say that they don't add much to what all the other prog bands did before them. You'll find plenty of prog bands in the Symphonic/Eclectic/Avant area that sound like them, but you'll find few metal bands who are quite like Mastodon. I don't mean that *they* are re-inventing the musical wheel, I just mean that they surprise me and really put a smile on my face when I'm listening to them. If you're so apalled by their metal elements, you can go to their Myspace page and listen to Sleeping Giant or This Mortal Soil.


Edited by Mr ProgFreak - January 06 2009 at 13:38
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 13:56
It's not that I am getting estranged from prog, it is getting that I am becoming estranged from a lot of rock music. Not because the music is getting any worse but solely because of the really naff drumming that seems to be dominating things. The industry seems, to my hearing, to be dominated by talentless drummers who only seem capable of tapping out a naff beat on the snare drum which spoils what is really some good music. Also the overuse of high hat cymbals is severely degrading my enjoyment of the music.
 
For some reason the sound engineers turn up the volume of the snare and cymbals which dominate the music and really gets on my nerves. The sound made by the snare and cymbals is totally incongruous with the rich sounds of the other instruments - probably because there is no sustain in the case of the snare and the there is little warning when the cymbals are crashed.
 
 As an example I have just been listening to the track from new album by Believe on MySpace. See what I mean! What annoying drumming. No way will I be tempted to buy this album because I know that I will be annoyed by the end of it - that's if I reach the end - which I won't cos I'm not going to buy it. Other examples include Magenta - Seven and Salva - Left to Burn.
 
There is a saying in our part of the world. 'Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred - strong in the arm and thick in the head'. 'ap'n Yorkshire should be replaced by drummer or engineer.
 
I know that I am getting grumpier in my old age but also I am getting a great sense of waste and the naff drumming/cymbals is certainly a waste of what is really very good music.
 
I like to listen to music and concentrate on all the layers - probably why I like prog so much - but the sound of the snare and cymbals really puts me off. 
 
As you will have gathered by now this is something I feel really strongly about. The snag is that I can't see it getting any better. Hence my estrangement.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 14:20
I guess I'm too fickle to get entrenched into one genre to become inured by it, so cannot imagine ever becoming fed-up with the way any particular quarter of Prog is going at any moment in time - but even then I can always pull out a CD from the rack that is diametrically opposite to whatever I've temporarily lost interest in, either from the past or from the present day... and if that fails, even something I've recorded myself (if only to remind myself how good the professionals are Wink).
 
I can't recommend artists that could reignite the spark for you, I'm sure they are out there somewhere, but what touches the spot for me would not be right for you - however, not all modern bands record pristine note-perfect but ultimately soulless music - some still live on the edge; some bands still record albums "live" in the old fashioned way (or at least lay-down the rhythm section [drum, bass and rhythm guitar] in one go); some bands still experiment with what is acceptable and with what is unacceptable - just don't go looking for it in all the usual places.
 
Perhaps you can finish the Bald Angels CD Smile


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 14:34
Originally posted by limeyrob

For some reason the sound engineers turn up the volume of the snare and cymbals which dominate the music and really gets on my nerves. The sound made by the snare and cymbals is totally incongruous with the rich sounds of the other instruments - probably because there is no sustain in the case of the snare and the there is little warning when the cymbals are crashed.
 
I'm with you there Rob - I was evaluating an Italian band called IF for Xover the other evening (http://www.ifsounds.com/?page_id=10) good music - but the overheads were unbearably high in the mix, made it very difficult to concentrate on what they were playing.Unhappy


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 14:53
Originally posted by BaldFriede

I don't know why, but I am getting more and more estranged from prog. It still has a place in my heart, but the development the music is taking in this genre makes me shy away from it. Or perhaps it is my own development, who knows?
.In any case, newer  artists in prog seem to have different opinions about what prog actually is than I. The few exceptions can be counted on the fingers of one hand. There are some old heroes who keep carrying the flag, but some of them have left the path of what is acceptable for me. And they are of course not getting any younger, which means there number becomes fewer with each year. Artists like The Red Masque, who in my opinion are by far the best of what cropped up in the last ten years, are few. (They get, by the way, far too little attention in here, in my honest opinion. The archives should hail them like some of the big bands of the 70s, and I mean it).
I find myself listening to classical music and jazz mostly these days. That is, I still listen to prog, but I am really missing new artists that keep the ball rolling. People have suggested some new artists to me, but they didn't really excite me. As I said, it may be just me (though Jean says she feels quite similar). There just is no real daring anymore, except from some of the old heroes.
Modern production adds to my discomfort with prog; it no longer sounds organic, it sounds artificial. Every single instrument is so clearly seperated from the other - that's not the way it sounds when you hear music being played live. Here the instruments blend into each other, making the whole thing sound organic. This is probably one of the reasons why I prefer live recordings to studio ones (especially modern studio recordings).
Is it just me, or is anyone else feeling like this?


I can relate to this to some degree, but I have some thoughts to put it in perspective:

Think of how estranged prog fans felt in the 80's - with Yes putting out Drama with Trevor Horn, Genesis' very commercial sound, ELP going bankrupt and putting out Love Beach. Jethro Tull winning "Best Heavy Metal Album". It was a sad time. And the production values back then were even worse - all of the Moogs were replaced by tinkly-sounding DX7's, Mellotrons replaced by cheap samplers, electronic drums coming into the picture, etc.

Now, there is so MUCH prog, and so many different strains of it available, thanks to the internet and mp3 revolution....so the genre is actually big enough now where we have so many sub-genres of prog that are based in different creative approaches. So, in the bad sense, it is a divided community - the prog fans who do not like avant garde probably dislike it more than your average person, and the avant-garde fans dislike retro more than your average non-prog fan. The good side of this is, for whatver brand of prog you identify with, there is probably more good music put out each year than you could possibly ever have time to listen to...it just takes more searching, especially since most of these releases are not from labels that do a lot of promotion - they are usually from labels with no budget for promotion, or released by the bands themselves.



Edited by jplanet - January 06 2009 at 14:54
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 15:33
Not to forget that there is more prog available today in the form of remasters, lost classics etc.being re-released by labels such as Wounded Bird than was available than at any given time during these "sad times". And this is all courtesy of the evil internet. So I guess it`s good for something. I had to scour used record stores to find s*** back then.

I think Marillion saved the day for a while. You can`t deny they got a lot out of the Yamaha hardware they were using. As for Drama. Man! Was I worried about that one and I`m sure some record execs lost some sleep over it as well. But it`s got to be one of my favourite Yes albums of all time! Really. I was just listening to it the other day in it`s CD format where the bonus tracks outnumber the original studio album tracks. Trevor Horn even sounded like Jon Anderson especially live. I liked the hard edge they came back with after Tormato which wasn`t exactly their magnus opus.

You gotta love it when a band shows up with an old moog or Hammond. I think Thijs van Leer of Focus tours with an old Hammond he used during the seventies.

Why I`ll never tire of Prog/art rock is because I`m stuck in the seventies. I`m in stasis. A holding pattern. (With the exception of a few bands Wink )
                
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 16:03
I don't see music in terms of 'prog' or 'not prog', but more in terms of what intrigues and interests me. That said, is site has broadened my horizons a lot, and helped me explore genres I was completely unfamiliar with in the past. There is such a huge variety of styles covered by the umbrella of 'prog' that I would find it almost impossible to actually tire of it. Even though I am a fan of Seventies prog (like most people of my generation), I am also more than willing to get acquainted with new bands without making too many comparisons.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 16:27
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

I read my posts again and I realized that I really didn't answer the original question of the thread but specific points of Friede's post. So here's my answer:

I'm not feeling estranged from prog at all ... not classic prog, and certainly not modern prog. So far I've proven to be largely immune to what seems to happen to most people as they age: they get less and less flexible. I'm trying to counteract that and instead get more flexible with each new album that I listen to ... which doesn't mean that I like each and every style of music, but I'm trying to give them all a fair chance.


I feel very similarly as you do, Mike.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 16:46
This goes for BaldFriede. You might want to try Grayceon, I think they sound very raw, in a early ´70 way... probably cause they couldn´t affort something better jejeje But it does have another feel to it, which is more... organic maybe, as you say. You might like them.

As for me, I LOOOOOOOOVEEE modern production (if done right). I think certain artist just get so much more out of their music because of it. Bands like Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Ulver just to name a few... I really can´t relate to you cause I don´t have that problem. But I do know that you don´t like a lot of genres, like metal (and yes, you can argue how High Tides was metalWink) and others. You tend to be more oriented toward Kraut, Psychodelia and more atonal music. Because of this you might see as there are no more interesting bands for you cause... well, much of that music (for some reason...) is not being done today. Which is also good I think, youhave to move forward, cause if not you end up being Neo (snap!) jejeje
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 17:07
In my 30 or so years of prog freakdom, I've honesly never become estranged.  That's an estrange concept to me.
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