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Topic ClosedGetting estranged from prog

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rogerthat View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2009 at 11:13
Originally posted by Nuke Nuke wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:


Well, I don't mean emotional in a happy/sad sense, just that something should arouse my curiosity or excitement somewhere. In any case, I look for drama and dynamics in music, not so much direct emotions like sorrow or anger. As you said, any sort of connection will do. Thumbs Up

Well then, we are in agreement! Seeing how rare that is on the internet, we should pat each other on the back. Smile


Especially how rare that is on PA. Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2009 at 14:51
PA is a rather quiet and polite place on the internet, in comparison to other forums I can remember.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2009 at 15:05
I cannot always listen to prog;  I also love  psychedelic rock  without any "progressivity"  (Syd Barrett, Dandy Warhols,  Brian Jonestown Massacre)   or singer/songwriter material  (Simon&Garfunkel, Cohen, Mey)  or to simple (alternative)  rock/pop music.

Many  members  in here  have the attitude  that only  music  with strange rhythms,  the highest requirements  and lyrics without any colleration to everyday life  is good and listenable.  The more notes  per second  and the longer  the epics,   the better they are...    I couldn't disagree more.  

Talented songwriters  like Dylan, Barrett, Simon or Harper  can  excite  more  feelings  and  can make the listener  reflect more   than pretty much of the  hardcore proggers  have done during their whole discography.  Of course I love  the  mercilessly unconventional  efforts and  the  way-out  noises of King Crimson,  but for me Simon&Garfunkel  are on the same level -  with probably the total opposed genre,  but with an effect of similar intensity  on me.

The band  that  melts  avantgarde, charme  and beauty  in a perfect way  is  Pink Floyd - and the effect is their #1 position in my top5  band list.  Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2009 at 20:39
Originally posted by CPicard CPicard wrote:

PA is a rather quiet and polite place on the internet, in comparison to other forums I can remember.

Who says disagreement has to be all fistfights and slanging matches? Actually there's more scope for disagreement when people stay civil and respectful, because it reduces the need for mod intervention, which seems to be the case here. Wink  Surely, we wouldn't have so many threads running into 14, 15 or more pages often on similar topics only about people saying they agree with each other. LOL  Consensus gets boring fast!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 19 2009 at 16:28
I find myself very much in the same situation. Personally, I think  prog has become a "GENRE" and not an "APPROACH" to music as it used to be. As Steve Hackett mentioned one time, the old bands were not trying to create "prog" music, but music that would challenge them and the listeners, that was inventive, creative, and the best they could compose. Nowadays, bands have to sound "Prog" to be considered prog, which means, they must have a yes, genesis, gentle giant, etc type of sound and elements in their music, along with long pieces, complex arrangements, odd metters, etc.
It seems that creativity and originality are elements that are lacking in todays music, and the metal influence is so prominent, it does not allows room for a distinctive sound to be created.
As I mentioned before, this is just my opinion, and I don't want to start a whole thread here. This are just my thoughts, but make good reasons for me to look into other places for good music, even though I still consider myself a prog fan.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 19 2009 at 18:33
Originally posted by Manuel Manuel wrote:

As Steve Hackett mentioned one time, the old bands were not trying to create "prog" music, but music that would challenge them and the listeners, that was inventive, creative, and the best they could compose. Nowadays, bands have to sound "Prog" to be considered prog, which means, they must have a yes, genesis, gentle giant, etc type of sound and elements in their music, along with long pieces, complex arrangements, odd metters, etc.


I guess he is right. Perhaps someone did mention it, but the same thing goes for most established rock genres. It is sad. There was a time when I would listen to a lot of prog rock and metal music for example, but, these days, when I want to get challenged by the music I listen to, I prefer the eclectic recordings of the ECM label.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2009 at 21:11
Prog is the first music I ever listened to, and I fondly remember the excitement I got from first properly discovering bands like Yes, Genesis, Camel, BJH etc. I too don't get any of these new bands that everyone raves about, stuff like Pendragon just sounds like MOR american rock with fiddly bits to me, without anything that made prog interesting in it. As a long-time metal fan as well, I find nothing interesting about bands like Opeth, who I REALLY don't understand the hype of. Second-rate (if I'm being generous) melodic death metal crossed with stolen Camel acoustic parts doesn't make for a great band to me! Also, I find ultra digital, pro-tools fixed recording makes the music sound very sterile, and takes away the spontaneous feel. I find a lot of people seem to be more interested in these new band's musical ability rather than their talents in songwriting and putting feeling and originality into a song.

I wouldn't say all is doom and gloom though, there are still plenty of very good bands to be discovered from the prog heydays, and now and again a real revelation such as Anglagard pops up as well. All musical styles have their times, and more productive and creative periods, but good stuff will always pop up amongst a deluge of crap bands, I think this is the case with all styles of music all the time.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 02:45
It's quite a while back that somebody said (something along the following lines):
 
'The classic Prog bands took their inspiration from a wide range of sources: Classical, Traditional, Jazz, Be-Bop, Pop etc. They took these influences, and made them into something of their destinctive own. The new Prog bands sound as if the only musical influence they have is other Prog bands, and there's a lot missing in the end result.'
 
I think there's a lot to be said for this, and I'm especially looking at the Flower Kings and their offshoots, in this regard. Any thoughts?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 04:08
^ My thoughts are, as always, that no one checks out Avestin's (and others') recommendations.

BTW, when prog bands really do adopt a 'challenging', 'anything goes' attitude, the reactions are usually WTF?!!! See KC's "Moonchild"... and Certified's review of it, for a dose of actual knowledge on the subject (a rare commodity)


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 08:36
I think you make a great point here. The Flower Kings are a great band, but their yes/genesis sound ties them up quite a bit. Another example is the Spock's Beard, specially during the Neal Morse's period. Great bands, excellent music, but too tied up to the older prog bands to make an original sound.
I only hope that one day, bands who are really going the extra mile and trying to create a different sound/style, get more expossure and recognition for their efforts. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 08:47
^ this is why I introduced two different tags at PF to describe the "proggyness" ... a) progressive approach and b) prog style. Some bands are either one or the other ... some are both, some are none ... or anywhere in between. And usually, when you grow tired of the typical prog style, you should start looking for modern bands who still use a progressive approach in their music, but may be very different from the original prog bands (Yes, Genesis) in terms of style.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 11:19
Interesting direction this discussion has taken. It went from I wonder why I don't like new prog to whether disliking double bass makes you close-minded to a bit of philosophy on how to approach new music to the classic progressive vs. imitate the 70's argument. Anyways, I don't get what this big fuss about opeth is either, but I don't see them as regressive. They do keep trying new things, and they've developed a distinct style, so I can't fault them for lacking originality. I think the problem is that they achieved their vision by the second album, and ever since then they've just been working from within that framework. As long as that works for them, it's okay, but it sure won't excite me as much as the other band which is breaking down barriers and reinventing genres.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 11:24
^ sure, breaking down barriers and reinventing genres is nice. But having listened to literally thousands of albums, I realize that - at least for me - it doesn't make sense to look for innovation all the time. At some point, if a band tries too hard to be experimental and innovative, they lose their identity (or fail to establish one in the first place). The really difficult thing is to walk the fine line between innovation and adherence to standards/tradition. And a band has to be creative ... which is entirely possible without being experimental and/or innovative.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 14:53
 QUOTE " sure, breaking down barriers and reinventing genres is nice. But having listened to literally thousands of albums, I realize that - at least for me - it doesn't make sense to look for innovation all the time. At some point, if a band tries too hard to be experimental and innovative, they lose their identity (or fail to establish one in the first place). The really difficult thing is to walk the fine line between innovation and adherence to standards/tradition. And a band has to be creative ... which is entirely possible without being experimental and/or innovative. "
 
Very good point, in an effort to be innovative, identity can be compromised.
I do believe that even though the music will always show influences from the people that inspires a band to create music, a touch of personality would make things better. Antother thing is the fact that many of todays prog bands self-produce their albums, and many of them don't have the experience, training of capacity to do the best job at it. A home studio these days can produce almost the same quality recording as a professional one, but without the experience of a well matured sound engineer and a first class producer, the final product will not be quite what was expected. On another hand, if the band gets together and records at the same time, and musicians brew the music together, will make a great difference. Nowadays, many bands just e-mail the samples and add their parts, loosing a lot of the organic feel to their compositions, and not creating a sense of unity within them.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 15:23
Well, I'm not sure that too much innovation makes you lose your identity. I mean, it seems to me like most great bands establish themselves by having a unique sound, by having innovations. I mean, the bands that broke all tradition and just did whatever they pleased have some of the strongest identities. King crimson? Magma? Ulver? Black Sabbath? Miles Davis? Igor Stravinsky? All have broken down barriers, and have established a strong identity. I very much disagree that too much innovation and experimentation makes you lose your identity. I think that as long as all of your music has something in common, something in common that it doesn't have in common with other music, then it will have an identity.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 15:54
Not to nit pick here, but Stravinsky may not have been the best example to use here as he really never broke down any barrier nor worked outside of any established style in his life.  Whether it be the primitivism of his early ballets (pioneered by Scriabin, Bartok and others), his neo-classical period, pioneered by Prokofiev and others) or his l;ate works using serial composition techniques (pioneered by Schoenberg and others), he always worked in an established structural framework.

What set Stravinsky apart was the way he worked within these well-established styles.  He was able to establish his own personal identity within established forms without ever being particularly innovative.  He had such a unique personal voice that it came through no matter what style he worked in.  

If Stravnsky were around today (and writing prog) he would be the guy who could take symphonic prog and make it sound fresh and new and amazing without breaking a single rule or ever stepping outside the parameters of the style.

A better classical music example might be someone like John Cage who really did forge some new trails with little or no regard to how his experiments would be received by the public or by his peers.  The early minimalists might also serve well here.  Glass and Reich both had to hire musicians and pay them out of their own pockets (something most of us try to avoid) in order to have their music played at all.  Minimalism was completely shunned by the Serialist dominated academic music departments in the 60's and 70's.  It was only after it became a big seller on the concert circuit that that attitude began to change.  These might serve as better examples of breaking new ground and establishing a strong identity at the same time.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 19:20
Eh, it's fair enough to nitpick. It's the best way to learn, right? I agree that stravinsky never actually broke any barriers, but he was very innovative. I mean, I've never heard a piece as innovative as the rite of spring. Sure, it is primitivism, and other composers were making primitivist pieces before him, but the rite of spring is in a class of its own. For example, the harmonies he used were pretty much unprecedented, and the rhythms he used were likewise very adventurous. I mean, I've read entire articles just devoted to one chord he created for the song. I agree that a lot of his other work isn't quite so innovative, but I was thinking of the rite of spring when I mentioned his name. If stravinsky were alive today and writing prog, what he would be doing would depend on how old he was Wink. In his youth, he would be breaking down barriers, in his middle age he would be doing symphonic prog, and in his late life he would be hanging out with the avant prog folks and doing derivitive yet superior works. Perhaps beethoven would have been a better example (although people who don't know music history too well might not know how innovative he was). I dislike cage, but steve reich would also have been a better example. 

Edited by Nuke - January 21 2009 at 19:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 19:29
Originally posted by Trademark Trademark wrote:

Not to nit pick here, but Stravinsky may not have been the best example to use here as he really never broke down any barrier nor worked outside of any established style in his life.  Whether it be the primitivism of his early ballets (pioneered by Scriabin, Bartok and others), his neo-classical period, pioneered by Prokofiev and others) or his l;ate works using serial composition techniques (pioneered by Schoenberg and others), he always worked in an established structural framework.
So I have been lied to this whole time, and Rite of Spring was not the first piece of its kind? If so, then what was? The people in the audience just hadn't heard Bartok yet?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 20:28
You haven't been lied to, you just haven't been told the whole story.  It certainly wasn't the first piece of its kind.  Strass' Salome and Elektra had both explored very similar themes 3-5 years before.  Alexander Scriabin had been using ocattonic scales (which are fairly common in much Russian folk music) in his piano compositions for several years and Mussorgsy had hinted at the whole primitivism notion in the 1860's, so Bartok wasn't the only other game in town.  In the early 1900's Bartok was still out trudging around the woods in Hungary collecting the folk songs that would later help define his style.  Stravinsky's harmony and rhythms were modern but not ground breaking and were certainly nowhere near unprecedented.

Primitivism was a fairly short-lived movement.  It went started in earnest in the late 1890's and was done by the end of the 1920's.  Bartok was an anomoly.  He continued the style long after it went out of fashion. Stravinsky was certainly the most well known, but by no means the first or the only practitioner.  He was an expert at putting his ear to the ground and being able to hear what was coming. As a result, he always seemed to be on the cutting edge without ever really being there.  He's a great composer and deserves the fame and success he had, but he wasn't a "maverick".

And here's the real cause for the riot at the premier of Le Sacre.  The style of dance and the jarring rhythms were certainly off-putting to some of the audience, but the real problem arose from the bassoon melody that opens the piece.  This melody, which is played very high in the bassoon range is very similar to the flute part in the opening of Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of  A Faun", and some folks thought that Stravinsky was poking fun at Debussy (especially by using the bassoon in that extreme range).  

The premiere was in Paris and Debussy was a national hero at that point.  The thought that he was being lampooned got people upset and they argued with others who saw it a different way.  Anyone who's studied any French history knows how volatile the "Paris Mob" can be and this is just another example.  It had far less to do with the primitivism and much more to do with the possibility that a Russian composer was making fun of France in Paris.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 20:45
Well that's disillusioning. :(
 
I have never even heard the Debussy thing before, everyone always says the dissonance or the sexy dancing.
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