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BaldFriede View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Getting estranged from prog
    Posted: January 06 2009 at 04:43
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?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 05:07
Not feeling estranged from prog in general, but I guess I dont listen to much modern prog for similar reasons to you; lack of invention, digital production etc..

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 05:15
I'm not getting estranged from prog either, just broadening my view on music...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 05:27
Well, it is not as if I entirely lost my interest in the genre. But I hardly find any new productions I consider to be worthwhile to listen to except, as already noted, from some of the old guys who somehow seem to have the knack to know what real music is all about. But the new artists cropping up in prog somehow don't do it for me. And I somehow can't believe this is because I have lost my liking for experimentation; on the contrary, it is the lack of experimentation which I deplore.


Edited by BaldFriede - January 06 2009 at 05:51

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 05:35
Im not into prog since long time, but I can say that my approach to modern bands
is much shyer than with the great classics and, in general, with the late 60s and 70s bands.
Even though, Im enjoying some modern bands that I dont find to be as progressive as the old ones.
Its just probably most the modern bands I like come from a different background and
have not the clear bluesy, jazz or classical influences that were somehow the keystones of the genre when it sprung out.
 
Im listening to Opeth right now and, you know, I cant find any Yes or ELP vibes in their blend of styles.
Anyway, I love them because Ive been a metalhead for most of my life (and still I am) and think theyre very good musicians wanting to play more developed music. Surely, this could be the point: the different ways
in which music can be developed.Some of them, actually, most of them cant afford people who has great love for the elements that defined the genre 40 years ago.
 
Im thinking of bands such as Kayo Dot, GYBE,...
 
At least, Im not really sure if Im explaining in a good manner what I wanted to say
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:00
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'm a fan, too. But somehow they don't strike me as being particularly inventive or innovative. Don't get me wrong, I think they're good songwriters and I would not call them "copycats" - but I don't think they're re-inventing the musical wheel either. You can hear plenty of influences in their music - VdGG/Peter Hammill to name only one.

I think that the band - as good as it may be - appeals to die-hard classic prog fans much more than to the younger generation. Carrying the prog flag to me makes only sense if you're reaching younger generations too ... if prog wants to survive, it must change at least to some extent ... flexibility is the key.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


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.


There's not much "daring" in classical music and jazz either ... I guess that for every musician there comes a day when they realise that most things have been done before. After all, there are only 12 notes. You may try to expand on that and listen to microtonal stuff, but other than that there's hardly anything groundbreaking once you've learned the "tricks". I know that many people are looking for the perfect piece of music - the most innovative, difficult to play or simply most experimental piece ever conceived. As far as I'm concerned - I value those things, but they're not what makes music interesting to listen to. IMO the most important thing is songwriting ... and whether the music appeals to me on a personal level. My most favorite albums all feature great songwriting *and* outstanding musicianship, and I really can relate to them personally. This combination is what's most important to me, and it's independent of style or genre.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


Modern production adds to my discomfort with prog; it no longer sounds organic, it sounds artificial. Every single instrument is so clearly separated 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 feel the exact opposite way. At any typical live show the sound is far from perfect ... this blending of instruments you describe is something which simply can't be helped. Recording technologies have certainly come a long way ... today we are able to clearly separate the instruments, which even in the 70s - which were already much more advanced than the previous decades - was quite difficult to achieve. It's my personal opinion that it's preferable to record the instruments as clearly as possible - and I think that had the bands had the technology we have today, they would have used it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:03
Originally posted by BaldFriede

Well, it is not as if I entirely lost my interest in the genre. But I hardly find any new productions I consider to be worthwhile to listen to except, as already noted, from some of the old guys who somehow seem to have the knack to know what real music is all about. But the new artists cropping up in prog somehow don't do it for me. And I somehow can't believe this is because I have lost my liking for experimentation; on the contrary, it is the lack of experimentation which I deplore.


http://www.myspace.com/rosekemp

Finding gems like that one is what keeps me interested. It might not exactly be called Prog by some people, but to me artists like her keep the spirit alive. It's a continuation of what Prog is all about, but with (slightly) different means. I like to still call it Prog ... at least by approach, in this case.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:16
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

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'm a fan, too. But somehow they don't strike me as being particularly inventive or innovative. Don't get me wrong, I think they're good songwriters and I would not call them "copycats" - but I don't think they're re-inventing the musical wheel either. You can hear plenty of influences in their music - VdGG/Peter Hammill to name only one.

I think that the band - as good as it may be - appeals to die-hard classic prog fans much more than to the younger generation. Carrying the prog flag to me makes only sense if you're reaching younger generations too ... if prog wants to survive, it must change at least to some extent ... flexibility is the key.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


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.


There's not much "daring" in classical music and jazz either ... I guess that for every musician there comes a day when they realise that most things have been done before. After all, there are only 12 notes. You may try to expand on that and listen to microtonal stuff, but other than that there's hardly anything groundbreaking once you've learned the "tricks". I know that many people are looking for the perfect piece of music - the most innovative, difficult to play or simply most experimental piece ever conceived. As far as I'm concerned - I value those things, but they're not what makes music interesting to listen to. IMO the most important thing is songwriting ... and whether the music appeals to me on a personal level. My most favorite albums all feature great songwriting *and* outstanding musicianship, and I really can relate to them personally. This combination is what's most important to me, and it's independent of style or genre.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


Modern production adds to my discomfort with prog; it no longer sounds organic, it sounds artificial. Every single instrument is so clearly separated 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 feel the exact opposite way. At any typical live show the sound is far from perfect ... this blending of instruments you describe is something which simply can't be helped. Recording technologies have certainly come a long way ... today we are able to clearly separate the instruments, which even in the 70s - which were already much more advanced than the previous decades - was quite difficult to achieve. It's my personal opinion that it's preferable to record the instruments as clearly as possible - and I think that had the bands had the technology we have today, they would have used it.

But this "perfect" sound is exactly what makes it lifeless. You don't hear music that way, and I am not talking of big concerts here at all. Even if, for example, only two acoustic guitar players sit in your living room and play, the sounds of the instruments blend into each other because they are being reflected from the surroundings. Whereas in modern studio productions all instruments are completely separated. This makes it sound sterile and artificial, especially when listening with headphones.
As to "every musician comes to a point where they feel everything has been done already": Maybe, but thats not what I am talking about. I have not reached that point at all, and I do find a lot of things still which I think are worth trying as a musician. I just don't find them in most of modern prog.
And you can certainly here influences in The Red Masque; no-one is without influences. But they have that kind of anarchistic approach to music which I like.


Edited by BaldFriede - January 06 2009 at 06:22

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:17
I think I understand what you mean. I can't think of any active prog band that really takes my breath away, with the single exception of Kenso! (People have pointed out that their kind of "symphonic jazz-rock" is clearly influenced by the likes of Bruford and Steve Hackett, but UTSUROI YUKU MONO, their most recent studio album, sounded really audacious.) Just like you, I guess, I keep expanding my musical horizon. Fortunately there's a lot of music around that sounds really subtle and/or daring. Last year I had great fun exploring C.P.E. Bach's keyboard fantasias, Francois Couperin's harpsichord suites, Rolf Kuehn's album INTERNAL EYES and Louis Sclavis's NAPOLI'S WALLS. But are you so experienced that you're truly familiar with all the nooks and crannies of Prog Archives? I keep discovering new stuff here. It may cheer you to know that one of my best discoveries lately was REAL TIME by Van der Graaf Generator, a band I had never really listened to closely...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:34
Originally posted by BaldFriede


But this "perfect" sound is exactly what makes it lifeless. You don't hear music that way, and I am not talking of big concerts here at all. Even if, for example, only two acoustic guitar players sit in your living room and play, the sounds of the instruments blend into each other because they are being reflected from the surroundings. Whereas in modern studio productions all instruments are completely separated. This makes it sound sterile and artificial, especially when listening with headphones.


I beg to differ. It all depends on how the artists want their instruments to be recorded. Even in a live settings the two guitars would be miked independently of each other, each would have its own track in the recording, and during mixdown the instruments are blended together again. This is how it has always been done, in the 70s and today. Of course you can choose to record both guitars on the same track with only one condensator microphone with sphere (or 8) characteristics, but that would only be done out of necessity, for example when the number of tracks is limited by your equipment. Today you can literally use as many tracks as you want. I'll say it again: I'm sure that if the artists had had (strange language, this EnglishWink) the technology back in the 70s, they would also have used it.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


As to "every musician comes to a point where they feel everything has been done already": Maybe, but that's not what I am talking about. I have not reached that point at all, and I do find a lot of things still which I think are worth trying as a musician. I just don't find them in most of modern prog.
And you can certainly here influences in The Red Masque; no-one is without influences. But they have that kind of anarchistic approach to music which I like.

Personally, I don't find their music that exciting or even anarchistic. I would much prefer a band like Mastodon when it comes to that, because they are really breaking down the structures of the genre they "started at".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:50
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

Originally posted by BaldFriede


But this "perfect" sound is exactly what makes it lifeless. You don't hear music that way, and I am not talking of big concerts here at all. Even if, for example, only two acoustic guitar players sit in your living room and play, the sounds of the instruments blend into each other because they are being reflected from the surroundings. Whereas in modern studio productions all instruments are completely separated. This makes it sound sterile and artificial, especially when listening with headphones.


I beg to differ. It all depends on how the artists want their instruments to be recorded. Even in a live settings the two guitars would be miked independently of each other, each would have its own track in the recording, and during mixdown the instruments are blended together again. This is how it has always been done, in the 70s and today. Of course you can choose to record both guitars on the same track with only one condensator microphone with sphere (or 8) characteristics, but that would only be done out of necessity, for example when the number of tracks is limited by your equipment. Today you can literally use as many tracks as you want. I'll say it again: I'm sure that if the artists had had (strange language, this EnglishWink) the technology back in the 70s, they would also have used it.

Originally posted by BaldFriede


As to "every musician comes to a point where they feel everything has been done already": Maybe, but that's not what I am talking about. I have not reached that point at all, and I do find a lot of things still which I think are worth trying as a musician. I just don't find them in most of modern prog.
And you can certainly here influences in The Red Masque; no-one is without influences. But they have that kind of anarchistic approach to music which I like.

Personally, I don't find their music that exciting or even anarchistic. I would much prefer a band like Mastodon when it comes to that, because they are really breaking down the structures of the genre they "started at".

That's where I differ; I don't find Mastodon original at all; there is nothing that really excites me about them.. And I don't regard them as breaking down the structures at all; they are way too tonal for that. The Red Masque are in my opinion much more original. A bunch of meter changes is not what I consider to be very original. But we all have our different tastes. so that's just my opinion.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 06:59
^ Of course The Red Masque are much more eclectic. It's just that I recognize all the little "quirks" they use, and Mastodon simply sound more fresh to me. Of course you're free to not like Mastodon, but I don't think it's fair to narrow them down to "a bunch of meter changes". That suggests to me that you haven't given them the attention they deserve. I think that simply can't be helped ... we all have limited time, and no one can demand of someone else to invest time in music they intuitively don't like. However, it may be necessary in order to become an expert, or even for making a profound contribution to a discussion about modern prog.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 07:10
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

^ Of course The Red Masque are much more eclectic. It's just that I recognize all the little "quirks" they use, and Mastodon simply sound more fresh to me. Of course you're free to not like Mastodon, but I don't think it's fair to narrow them down to "a bunch of meter changes". That suggests to me that you haven't given them the attention they deserve. I think that simply can't be helped ... we all have limited time, and no one can demand of someone else to invest time in music they intuitively don't like. However, it may be necessary in order to become an expert, or even for making a profound contribution to a discussion about modern prog.

De gustibus non est disputandum. You say you recognize all the "little quirks" in The Red Masque; I could say the same about Mastodon. They are a bit too tonal for my taste, and apart from playing fast and loud with lots of meter changes I don't see much to hold my interest. But I will give them that: At least they use distortion, which is something I miss in most metal bands. On the other hand they use double bass-drumming, which definitely is on my no-no list.; being a drummer myself I consider it to be a cheap gimmick. But as I said: De gustibus non est disputandum.


Edited by BaldFriede - January 06 2009 at 07:11

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 07:44
I'm estranged too, I guess. Even as a big fan of Neo-Prog, I recognize without very, good songs, it can become a big wasteland. I have to say I'm becoming a big electronica fan of many sorts, but generally the less danceable kind minus trance and trip-hop, which I like. Similarly, newer indie bands are coming to my attention, but thankfully I don't think I can ever be a hipster. Like you, I love lots of 70s prog, and I recognize the raw, unprocessed sound is amazing, and it's a shame it's gone in most circles. I'm listening to the recent Grayceon album now, though, and I do think it's a great recent not-produced-to-death prog album. Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 08:04
Originally posted by BaldFriede

Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak

^ Of course The Red Masque are much more eclectic. It's just that I recognize all the little "quirks" they use, and Mastodon simply sound more fresh to me. Of course you're free to not like Mastodon, but I don't think it's fair to narrow them down to "a bunch of meter changes". That suggests to me that you haven't given them the attention they deserve. I think that simply can't be helped ... we all have limited time, and no one can demand of someone else to invest time in music they intuitively don't like. However, it may be necessary in order to become an expert, or even for making a profound contribution to a discussion about modern prog.

De gustibus non est disputandum. You say you recognize all the "little quirks" in The Red Masque; I could say the same about Mastodon. They are a bit too tonal for my taste, and apart from playing fast and loud with lots of meter changes I don't see much to hold my interest. But I will give them that: At least they use distortion, which is something I miss in most metal bands. On the other hand they use double bass-drumming, which definitely is on my no-no list.; being a drummer myself I consider it to be a cheap gimmick. But as I said: De gustibus non est disputandum.


We've been there ... I guess we'll never agree. The cool thing is: we don't need to.Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 09:58

I often feel the same way when it comes to modern prog. People here seem to be able to find all sorts of new stuff, but I find them to be boring and sterile, much like you do. A personal problem of mine is the dominance of distorted guitar/guitar solos everywhere (the new Tangent a perfect example) which means I can't like most modern prog.

However there are a few bands I find I can enjoy. Check these guys out if you haven't already: http://www.last.fm/music/Birds+and+Buildings/Bantam+to+Behemoth

Also what I have been trying to do is checking out other scenes outside of the major symphonic label. I don't know how familiar you are with the RIO/Avant Prog scene, but there are some cool recent bands from there. Ahvak sounds to be pretty unique to me, and Rational Diet, a band that placed on avestin's top list this year which prompted me to check the out, are also pretty cool. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=199629767

I apologize if you're already familiar with these bands. I know what you're feeling though and it's definitely frustrating. These recent years I am sometimes barely be able to pick out a top 3 prog albums whereas back in the 1970s I can rattle off a large list of them. I wouldn't say now is bad as it was in the 90s though... Haha.



Edited by Kestrel - January 06 2009 at 09:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:12
It probably won't help, because I think you've been there already, but have you considered trying strange prog? Tongue
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:16
Originally posted by Kestrel

I often feel the same way when it comes to modern prog. People here seem to be able to find all sorts of new stuff, but I find them to be boring and sterile, much like you do. A personal problem of mine is the dominance of distorted guitar/guitar solos everywhere (the new Tangent a perfect example) which means I can't like most modern prog. 

However there are a few bands I find I can enjoy. Check these guys out if you haven't already: http://www.last.fm/music/Birds+and+Buildings/Bantam+to+Behemoth

Also what I have been trying to do is checking out other scenes outside of the major symphonic label. I don't know how familiar you are with the RIO/Avant Prog scene, but there are some cool recent bands from there. Ahvak sounds to be pretty unique to me, and Rational Diet, a band that placed on avestin's top list this year which prompted me to check the out, are also pretty cool. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=199629767



Awesome recommendations!  Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:27
Back to the topic.

I guess I'm a bit too young to talk about the old days and the new ones.
But I have to say I did get a bit chocked when I started listenning to modern prog (after a long tour of the 70's).

The thing is, like music in general, progressive rock broadened extremely quickly during the last 15 or 20 years, and is still, more and more. So it is very hard to find the (almost constant) basis that were in place in the 70's. Today, we have prog music (not progressive music as in the adjective) with sounds so different, and (almost) all with a will to be original.

Plus, as it has been said, the techniques (recording, playback) do play a big role. Many prog musicians also became producers/mixers/engineers (that was rare in the 70's) because "sound" has become a major feature in recordings, not only in the music the musicians play.

https://soundcloud.com/why-music Prog trio, from ambiant to violence
https://soundcloud.com/m0n0-film Film music and production projects
https://soundcloud.com/fadisaliba (almost) everything else
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 06 2009 at 10:34
I don't get too concerned with what's going on with modern prog, because to be honest I just seek out what's good and I don't really care when it was made.  But I think I know what you're going through, especially if you've listened to prog for years and years, you feel like everything's been done, you've heard everything you care to hear, and you want something new.  Expanding to classical/jazz is something I'm just embarking on as well, although prog will continue to dominate my listening sessions for years, I expect.
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