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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 24 2010 at 07:14
Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

1. That the music itself contains progressions, the word here being used to mean passages of music that segue into another, standing in contrast to simple constructions such as a verse/chorus based song.


This is the definition of "progressive" I generally use, or the record I don't distinguish between prog and progressive and it does overlap with some genres that are similar but distinctive. Psychedelic rock, for instance, can be progressive (Pink Floyd, Amon Düül II) or not (13th Floor Elevators, Blue Cheer).

Quote Item 1 is not fantastic either, since many progressive compositions are indeed based around the old song structure, so focus here tends to shift to extended instrumentals, generally ignoring the fact that any band worth their salt enjoys a good jam session, and extended instrumentals can be very simple affairs, often comprising 3, 2 or even a single chord - so we're almost back where we started!


I get the impression that it's supposed to be "progressive" relative to normal rock music, so things like the extended instrumentals or jams should be longer or at least more deliberate and planned than in other rock genres. Of course, this is based again on relations and generalizations about how much exactly makes something progressive but pretty much any kind of categorization system is based on generalizations that are bound to not always be correct.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 24 2010 at 08:02
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

As I see it, Dean and Atavachron are also establishing the same formula or relationship between input and output, the former being the constituents of the music, the latter being the feelings and thoughts the music generates in the listener. In other words, prog rock can be defined both by the constituents of the music and by the psychological effects observed by the listener.
 
Both sides of the equation "Psychological effect" = f(composition/variables of music) are equally valid as a definition of (the level of) prog, but the relationship between the two allows you to design or predict the outcome of the music.
If the nett result is the same (which it is) then the you could argue that the function/criteria/model is irrelevant since it adequately describes what is known to be both Prog and Progressive, however it only describes what will be Prog, not what will be Progressive. Any artist that follows the "rules" will create music that is Prog Rock, but it will be a pastiche of Progressive since the music itself and the compositional process was not progressive and did not progress.
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

 
The formulation would be less complex if focusing on a subgenre of prog as a description of the aggeregate or sum of prog subgenres is likely to fail as not all subgenres on PA are actually prog (IMO).
I think it fails even when restricted to a narrow subset (subgenre) of Prog, in that some of the artists were unquestionably progressive while the others were merely replicating the process and sounding progressive.
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

  
Anyway, back to the initial question: "Prog vs. progressive - Is there such as thing"? Well, what is meant by "vs."? Is it the relationship between prog and progressive(ness)?
I think I've covered those points above (and elsewhere) - Prog is a noun that describes a collection of bands/music while progressive is an adjective that implies advancement. The "vs." is an implication that Prog (n) does not have to be Progressive (adj) and vice versa.
What?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 11:15
^ I echo Dean's first point here. How can there be a set of rules applying to an approach which aims to break them? I don't feel you can have preconceived ideas about how progressive music should sound, because that defeats the objective of pushing boundaries and challenging convention.

I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.

No disrespect to mainstream rock, of course.  Tongue

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 15:51
Prog is an illusion.  Progressive doubly so.
Released date are often when it it impacted you but recorded dates are when it really happened...

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2010 at 16:52
I think your question is about Progressive music as a style vs. progressive music as a forward moving art form.  Its the same discussion that architects have about Modernism, which really hasn't been modern for 30 years!
Yes, Prog has certain qualities that one can list: orchestration, complex time signitures, keyboards, classical inspiration, layering of themes, etc. . Recent progressive music may or may not have the same characteristics.
Most people at this website seem to be interested in both, and probably are not satisfied with progressive music simply because it may be breaking new ground. Its interesting to me when a band with a progressive sound such as SGM is making references, intentionally or accidentally, to its Progressive ancestors ( King Crimson comes to mind) without sounding retro or derivative.  Stevo
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 13:53
I think that for the purposes of understanding Prog Rock, it should be understood with respect to the Rock of its time.  And it could be that the definition is based on what Rock typically is making Prog Rock what Rock typically isn't.  The definition would be tied to a separate definition for Rock and would have no more or less qualifications placed on it for that.
 
Progressive rock could mean both prog rock and progressive music in the broadest sense of the word progressive.  But progressive could encompass the following:
 
1.  An evolution taking place consciously by the efforts of the musician
2.  An evolution taking place unconsciously
3.  A musical invention which emulates 1. in a contemporary way (within a limited time range like the amount of time it typically takes for a band to release an album, tour and get to the studio to create a new one and get it released)
 
For 1. a musician or band could choose to progressively try out various new styles that have been more thoroughly explored by musicians who are not progressive but perform within the genre.  At some level it may not matter if the material is new in general but only new to the performer as to whether it is progressive.  But for me such distinctions are not interesting.  I'd rather identify a static form or look at how music evolves whether that is within a band or across the whole field of musical performance. 
 
To identify how rock music has progressed, I think it is usually better to create new genre's or sub-genre's where appropriate and then identify how the various genre's have evolved with respect to each other.  That way prog/progressive rock is a static form (within which inovation can take place just as much as any other genre) and musicians and/or bands can progress in their music and that can be characterized as improved skills, experimentation in other pre-existing genre's or carving out of a new genre. 
 
So if you are wanting progressive (aka prog) rock to be "better today than it was yesterday" you have to ask yourself if this is what you want or if you really want to listen to music from other genres.  For me I would prefer to keep progressive rock as a genre with its sub-genre's, but I think what needs to happen perhaps is for there to be a definition for Rock as Progressive Rock is really a sub-genre of Rock
 
Here is one fictional theorists chalkboard diagram (from the movie School of Rock):
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:27
brilliant diagram, and I like how Zappa and Can are in the '?' section
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2010 at 03:30
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

  
Anyway, back to the initial question: "Prog vs. progressive - Is there such as thing"? Well, what is meant by "vs."? Is it the relationship between prog and progressive(ness)?
I think I've covered those points above (and elsewhere) - Prog is a noun that describes a collection of bands/music while progressive is an adjective that implies advancement. The "vs." is an implication that Prog (n) does not have to be Progressive (adj) and vice versa.
 
This has enough definition, but enough vagueness to catch the trickier bands/music.
 
It's a mulit-faceted question indeed, and, while it's pretty much a given that "Prog"(n) is inherently Progressive, Progressive (adj) does not mean Prog.
 
In fact, there's an issue with "Progressive" even in all the definitions and models, and it appears frequently - how progressive is progressive music, and should we ignore musicians that have produced progressive music when it's clear that the prevailing view is that the band is more famous for a specific genre or style?
 
What if they've simply been progressive within their style, like The Beatles, The Stranglers - or even Coldplay?
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

^ I echo Dean's first point here. How can there be a set of rules applying to an approach which aims to break them?
 
 
Great question.
 
This is precisely why I'm staying away from rules, and looking at models, like the Kenton one.
 
However, this question relies on there being rules to start with - so maybe it's those rules that need to be defined?
 
Which rules, specifically, are being broken?
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

I don't feel you can have preconceived ideas about how progressive music should sound, because that defeats the objective of pushing boundaries and challenging convention.
 
 
Completely agree.
 
However, it is true to say that Modern Prog relies more on a style and sound than this objective - so really, there ARE preconcieved ideas about how the music should sound in that very statement... or maybe it'd be truer to say that there are preconcieved ideas about how it should NOT sound - which are rules in their own way.
 

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.
 
 
This is exactly the Kenton model, but in a less granular form.
 
I fully agree that "distinct" is not enough to be "progressive".
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


No disrespect to mainstream rock, of course.  Tongue
 
It's quite surprising how "progressive" (adj) some mainstream rock can be. Wink
 
 
Originally posted by Stevo Stevo wrote:


Most people at this website seem to be interested in both, and probably are not satisfied with progressive music simply because it may be breaking new ground. Its interesting to me when a band with a progressive sound such as SGM is making references, intentionally or accidentally, to its Progressive ancestors ( King Crimson comes to mind) without sounding retro or derivative.  Stevo
 
Isn't the trouble with much of it that it only doesn't sound retro because of the production - this would seem to be what Fieldofsorrow is saying about "distinct" vs "progressive".
 
I don't think that having a shiny new timbre is enough - most pop and rock bands have modern production - and the "references" to older groups tend to be either exact "quotes" or something stylistically similar applied to standard rock songs.
 
The standard rock song thing is the antithesis to progressive, so why should making music that sounds a bit like Crimson, Camel or Floyd but with sparkly new production be considered progressive, while truly progressive music such as Radiohead's "Kid A", with all its retro kit and production values become the subject of intense debate over its prog credentials?
 
Why is Modern Prog even called Prog, when virtually none of it comes close to the ideals that most people in this discussion have put forward?
 
Just something I don't understand.
 
Maybe the topic of another thread... I'll get back to the title subject in my next post Smile
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2010 at 10:47
Interesting points there. And how difficult it is to attempt to formulate rules which define progressive music by being broken, rather than kept! I probably have little new to contribute on these grounds, but in my opinion, I think that since we are dealing with a way of thinking that blurs all stylistic distinctions, perhaps the rules that have the potential to be and already have been broken are limitless in number, because there are so many aspects of the rock idiom that are generic.

Taking that a little further, perhaps all it boils down to approaching composition in numerous ways that significantly differ from musical trends - and there are many of these trends. (Standard chord voicings,  popular cadences, diatonic/pentatonic melody lines, basic song structure etc.) It's all been broken before, to a certain extent, so perhaps all that's left to do is to make these changes all the more extreme, or try and tackle a lot of different changes at once. To be progressive in this day and age is pretty difficult, so your best bet is probably to tear any trace of convention to shreds. LOL

Your comments on Modern Prog may be true, but when you term it as such, I assume you don't encompass modern progressive music?

And as for progressive mainstream rock, Radiohead and Muse are two perfect examples. I don't dispute it.

Big smile


 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2010 at 13:00
In how far is the reproduction of formerly progressive elements in any way progressive anymore. I think you need to distinguish between the term itself and the actual meaning of it. Prog music of yesterday is progressive only in respect of its own time, it should not be taken out of context by claiming the very style of that very movement being progressive in itself. People should not break their heads over notions, just be it understood that there cannot be a waterproof definition of 'Prog' since definition is merely an interpretation of experiance and linked to a naturally limited point of view, thus relative. Just enjoy music and don't be jerks Clap  
 
If i may quote:

 
"A laudable attempt to nail that slippery Progressive jellyfish to the ceiling sir."
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2010 at 04:35
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

Interesting points there. And how difficult it is to attempt to formulate rules which define progressive music by being broken, rather than kept!
 
Maybe it's not so hard;
 
I think that "Progressive" is more a sliding scale than a set of definite boundaries which need to be broken.
 
Fundamentally, the Kenton model works really well for Prog up to the 1970s, if taken simply as a model.
 
The 1980s are fairly easy to accomodate - the prefix "Neo" is really helpful, because it lets us understand that we are talking about a "New" approach to progressive, which was made to fit in with musical styles of the time.
 
Hence the complexities of 1970s prog (and the Kenton model) were not as important as lyrical melody and strong rythmic interest - something that Genesis were the progenitors of.
 
1990s, or Modern Prog appeared to grow out of the 1980s "Neo-psychedelic" scene - a lot of the earliest bands played on the "Alice in Wonderland" circuits, the Magical Mystery Tours (which preceeded the Rave culture) and spontaneous free festivals at which bands like The Ozric Tentacles, Here and Now, Gong and Hawkwind would regularly feature. I remember seeing acts like Pendragon and Solstice at that kind of event.
 
Most of this music was not, in fact, inspired by Classic Prog at all - but Hawkwind and Pink Floyd were natural influences for the psychedelic sound, and the bands from this time couldn't help but pick up on what some of the other bands did; A preponderance for Dub Reggae influences and harder, more punky rhythms, thanks to the more experimental punk bands that freqented these circuits - particularly  Subhumanz.
 
 
Oh.... back to the rules that were being broken...
 
In all of the bands I described from the 1980s "Neo-psych" scene, there was a tendency to do the unexpected, to treat riffs and songs as things to play around with, extend with the main purpose being to create something psychedelically satisfying or interesting.
 
This included strange instrumentation - flutes, saxes, bongos and other acoustic instruments were common.
 
Unusual harmonies - often by creating a riff or melody that suggested a well-known one, but changing a few notes to add surprise, and adding dischords, unexpected repetitions, "floaty" instrumental breakdowns and spacey vocalisations.
 
 
In summary, the basic conventions of popular songs were, sometimes brutally, attacked in what seems a deliberate attempt to "freak the audience out", or break them momentarily out of their comfort zone.
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

I probably have little new to contribute on these grounds, but in my opinion, I think that since we are dealing with a way of thinking that blurs all stylistic distinctions, perhaps the rules that have the potential to be and already have been broken are limitless in number, because there are so many aspects of the rock idiom that are generic.

Taking that a little further, perhaps all it boils down to approaching composition in numerous ways that significantly differ from musical trends - and there are many of these trends. (Standard chord voicings,  popular cadences, diatonic/pentatonic melody lines, basic song structure etc.) It's all been broken before, to a certain extent, so perhaps all that's left to do is to make these changes all the more extreme, or try and tackle a lot of different changes at once. To be progressive in this day and age is pretty difficult, so your best bet is probably to tear any trace of convention to shreds. LOL
 
Tackling lots of different changes at once would seem to be the progressive approach.
 
As I said earlier, it's a sliding scale, so really, we're talking about the degree to which music achieves this in order to be demonstrably progressive, as opposed to simply being held to be progressive by fans or journalists.
 
Originally posted by eberebe eberebe wrote:

In how far is the reproduction of formerly progressive elements in any way progressive anymore. I think you need to distinguish between the term itself and the actual meaning of it.
 
That's two questions really.
 
1. Doing "something different" with all elements of music, as per the Kenton model should theoretically result in progressive music. This approach will always be progressive - these are elements that are permanent in music, not properties of some bygone era.
 
2. I don't understand what you mean by "the term itself and the actual meaning of it".
 
 
Originally posted by eberebe eberebe wrote:

Prog music of yesterday is progressive only in respect of its own time, it should not be taken out of context by claiming the very style of that very movement being progressive in itself. People should not break their heads over notions, just be it understood that there cannot be a waterproof definition of 'Prog' since definition is merely an interpretation of experiance and linked to a naturally limited point of view, thus relative. Just enjoy music and don't be jerks Clap  
 
People enjoy music in their own ways.
 
I like to analyse it.
 
If it can't be analysed very deeply, that doesn't matter - at that point I "just enjoy it" or "just loathe it" or "just become indifferent to it".
 
But music that lends itself to analysis is lots of fun - and doing the analysis even more so.
 
Truly progressive music is the best kind to analyse.
 
In my opinion.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2010 at 10:56
Yes, I'm not fond of that gut reaction to tell people to 'just enjoy music' whenever things get technical. Analysis is important for people who enjoy it. There's no other reason to do it.

So, there are various degrees of progressiveness, as you say. But where does this sliding scale begin? And I do hope that critics don't get their hands on this concept for themselves, otherwise we'll just end up with a thousand more musical labels that mean next to nothing.

Forgive me for my naive approach - my exploration of prog and arguably rock as a whole is only just underway, so I can only draw on a limited amount of experience. This blog attracted my attention though, because as someone who intends to listen to a lot more of this style, it would be nice to start out with a general idea in mind of what to look for. Not that I'll be sucking any enjoyment out of the process, but I'd quite like to be informed of what it truly means to be progressive, regardless of whether I like what I hear or not. In other words, these discussions are useful.

I would say that it's probably important for listeners to examine below the surface of the music too, because not every progressive band is going to go in for the scare tactics that you mentioned. Rules can be broken in less evident ways than an assault on the popular idiom, I would say, and artists that take that approach could be of high interest also.





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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2010 at 04:11
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


So, there are various degrees of progressiveness, as you say. But where does this sliding scale begin?
 
Now this is a question and a half - and the answers are bound to be slipperier than the Prog Jellyfish.
 
I'll think about this one and come back to it - in all likelihood, there is no literal beginning, and we'll have to consider other aspects in conjunction with the "scale".
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

And I do hope that critics don't get their hands on this concept for themselves, otherwise we'll just end up with a thousand more musical labels that mean next to nothing.
 
Sadly, I think that's the way things are going anyway - people love to categorise and sub-categorise, and the trouble is, much of this categorisation is done by people with very little real knowledge of what it is they are categorising - it's all done by gut feel, and everyone's gut feel is different.
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


Forgive me for my naive approach
 
In my opinion, this is the best approach, and one I try to take as often as I can.
 
When I pose a question like this, I do not assume that I already have the answers, just some answers and data which might be useful in formulating something stronger.
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

 - my exploration of prog and arguably rock as a whole is only just underway, so I can only draw on a limited amount of experience. This blog attracted my attention though, because as someone who intends to listen to a lot more of this style, it would be nice to start out with a general idea in mind of what to look for. Not that I'll be sucking any enjoyment out of the process, but I'd quite like to be informed of what it truly means to be progressive, regardless of whether I like what I hear or not. In other words, these discussions are useful.

I would say that it's probably important for listeners to examine below the surface of the music too, because not every progressive band is going to go in for the scare tactics that you mentioned. Rules can be broken in less evident ways than an assault on the popular idiom, I would say, and artists that take that approach could be of high interest also.
 
Absolutely - this is exactly where my blog is coming from - and it is a blog, which means it's just a collection of thoughts on a specific subject.
 
I'm very interested in Progressive music as a whole, and find that digging around in its history tends to throw up some really cool information and surprises, which help shed light on the way it has developed.
 
I find most Progressive music since the 1990s very difficult to understand, because when I do listen under the surface, most of it conflicts with both my idea of progressive and the many, many definitions available on the Internet (and where else would one look for definitions these days?). This is one reason I'm constantly trying to redefine - or rather, properly define it myself.
 
Emphatically, I am not attempting to belittle Modern Prog - I know a lot of people enjoy it, and that's very cool, because it keeps interest in the old music alive.
 
Thanks to the forum aspects, we can use this blog as a discussion point, rather than it simply being one person's pontifications.
 
 
I've gone O/T a bit - but as I said earlier, I'll think about what we might see as the "beginning of the sliding scale of progressive" - a topic which is fraught with pitfalls, as I consider progressive works by the likes of ABBA...
 
 
 






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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2010 at 10:58
Good stuff. Could you provide me with some examples of the modern progressive artists that have made progressive music so difficult to bracket in recent times? And in what ways have they done so?

And of the little I've heard, modern prog serves a very important purpose. The idea of a band taking the roots that classified acts as diverse as King Crimson, Rush, Kansas and Genesis together, and finding what I might describe as a 'common idiom' between them is something that I think is amazing. These bands have converted an attitude into a style of music which can be labelled much more neatly than progressive music. And perhaps throwing in more sophistication into the songwriting (in other words, building on the forefathers' foundations) can serve as a development on its own. Taking that to its logical conclusion, I feel modern prog could potentially cross over to some extent with modern progressive music.

Oh, and ABBA were undoubtedly innovative. Whilst not progressive ROCK music, I suppose that when discussing the mentality of forward thinking works, stylistic boundaries are irrelevant. After all, this discussion was partially the result of Stan Kenton.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2010 at 08:49
Thinking about where it "begins", It seems inescapable that "progressive" is a sliding scale that doesn't really begin.
 
There is no "standard song" - each has defining characteristics that could be applied to any model of "progressiveness", let alone one that has been conveniently and somewhat convincingly laid down by a jazz musician over 60 years ago.
 
The main problem here is relativity - for any given rock song, you could think of examples which are more or less progressive, with the possible exception of quite a lot of Zappa's work, where you only think in terms of "less progressive than".
 
One issue I have with some diccussions I've seen recently is the tendency to confuse "different" with "progressive" - and it's a tough call.
 
The bleak electronic soundscapes of, say, Gary Numan do sound a little progressive, and the way he uses melody, rhythm and harmony all coagulate to form an overall style which stands out - in the same way as many other electro-pop acts which jumped onto the bandwagon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with Kraftwerk as the figurehead act.
 
Kraftwerk are the truly progressive act in this case, having essentially created the sound and style, and nowhere is the evidence more clear than in their very first album.
 
The case becomes somewhat cyclic here, as the analogy between the late 1970s electro artists and Neo-Prog is clear.
 
 
That's just one example of how you can find progressiveness in almost any band or song, if you want to - and that is one of the great things about it.
 
However, the real joy of progressive music is when you hear the "Real McCoy" - the music that leaves you in absolutely no doubt about its status as adventurous, boundary-pushing and mould-breaking, particularly when you dig into it to understand its mechanics, and discover wonders of musical engineering you'd never dreamed of.
 
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

 
Good stuff. Could you provide me with some examples of the modern progressive artists that have made progressive music so difficult to bracket in recent times? And in what ways have they done so?
 
 
Well, most of the stuff I've heard, to be honest - and the difficulty for me is not in how to bracket them, because that would imply certain prog tendencies.
 
The difficulty for me is that when I hear the music of Porcupine Tree and The Flower Kings, for example, I hear standard rock songs with sparkly production and quasi-metal riffs - and nothing else. Just Rock songs, not Prog - so why are either band held up as beacons of modern Prog, when they do not play progressive music?
 

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


And of the little I've heard, modern prog serves a very important purpose. The idea of a band taking the roots that classified acts as diverse as King Crimson, Rush, Kansas and Genesis together, and finding what I might describe as a 'common idiom' between them is something that I think is amazing.
 
The problem for me is that although they are described as doing this, in actual fact, they do not.  You are right, the idea would be amazing if it actually happened, and I would actively encourage it - but I've yet to hear it happening.
 
These acts may have listened to the old bands and had inspiration that way, but the music and progressive approach is not the same - there is no commonality.
 
Pink Floyd and Hawkwind are more commonly drawn on than Crimson, Rush, Kansas or Genesis - none of whom typically feature highly in the musical attributes of most modern bands. I've heard the occasional Spock's Beard song that draws on Crimson - and even Gentle Giant, so there are exceptions - but these are few and far between.
 

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

These bands have converted an attitude into a style of music which can be labelled much more neatly than progressive music.
 
Have they really though?
 
How have they done this?
 
I don't hear the Progressive attitude anywhere, except occasional rare moments. The norm seems to be to abandon the progressive attitude completely and just write simple songs with sound effects and spiffy production.
 
I don't find the labelling neat or easy - it seems to me that the labelling is entirely misplaced. What have I missed?
 

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

And perhaps throwing in more sophistication into the songwriting (in other words, building on the forefathers' foundations) can serve as a development on its own.
 
Yes - it could, but that typically does not happen.
 
Just about everything I've heard, described as Modern Prog, has very little in the way of sophistication in the songwriting - verses and choruses all the way, with yer predictable instrumental bridge (which, OK, tend to drone on longer than most of Deep Purple's, but that in itself isn't enough).
 
They don't really "buld on the forefather's foundations", they more take some aspects of their sounds and simplify them such that the end result is nothing more than something that sounds a little cleverer than yer basic rock/metal song (if there really is such a thing!), but not much.
 
On that subject, if you trawl through the back catalogues of many "standard" rock and metal acts, you will discover many, many songs with progressive tendencies. As a shining example, I suggest you listen to the early output of heavy metal warriors Saxon, and prepare for some shocks!
 

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

Taking that to its logical conclusion, I feel modern prog could potentially cross over to some extent with modern progressive music.
 
It should, in order to earn the label "Modern Prog", at the very LEAST be progressive! There seems to be far more progresssive music outside the field of "Modern Prog" than inside it - or maybe I just haven't heard the proper stuff.

Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


Oh, and ABBA were undoubtedly innovative. Whilst not progressive ROCK music, I suppose that when discussing the mentality of forward thinking works, stylistic boundaries are irrelevant. After all, this discussion was partially the result of Stan Kenton.
 
Indeed - and that is precisely the conclusion I came to above.
 
"Progressive" when applied to music begins with the Kenton model at the very top of the tree and works down.
 
At the point at which the entire model stops applying and only parts of it do, the music could be held to be Progressive Rock Music as opposed to "Prog", if you like. I think this is actually how many make the distinction.
 
Lower down the scale, where fewer parts of the model apply, and to a lesser extent, the music doesn't stop being progressive - but I think that to most people's ears, it would be "less progressive".
 
This, as I pointed out, does not stop - you could even listen to Take That and hear one or two elements that might strike you as "progressive".
 
At this point, we hold a straw man poll - what do we think the "average" Prog listener would think about this specific piece of music?
 
In the case of Take That, I would expect most to ignore the question altogether as irrelevant, a significant number to guffaw whilst clutching their aching sides, and a few thoughtful ones to say "Actually, you know, when you listen to it carefully..."
 
In the case of ABBA, I suggest you familiarise yourself with their "Intermezzo", which I believe was on their 3rd album, and then listen to Ekseption, who are in the archives, and ask yourself which is the more progressive of the two.
 
Most, however, will simply dismiss ABBA on the basis of "Dancing Queen" - a song which is actually very progressive, especially in the tricky area of form, because, like many progressive Beatles numbers, it BEGINS with the chorus.
 
 
As I said, on the sliding scale of Progressiveness, there is no beginning. Just a plunge into the abyss... Tongue


Edited by Certif1ed - February 11 2010 at 09:02
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2010 at 11:47

After reading through the discussion above I would definitely vote to keep Prog and Progressive separate...if you are looking for what is progressive that is an open ended "sliding" question and requires an extensive knowledge of the music of the time, etc...but Prog rock and its many sub-genres can be more readily defined.

Case in point...when I talk about prog rock I want to hold up as examples both of King Crimson's albums In the Court of the Crimson King AND In the Wake of Poseidon.  If I were concerned with "progressive" music, then I would say the first album is progressive and the second is not. 
 
Actually, my recent thinking has made me realize that while In the Court of the Crimson King could arguably be the first Prog Rock album, I would hesitate to say this unless I pointed out the growing expansion of albums that would qualify as Prog Rock that emerged immediately after this album (including Genesis' Trespass and Yes' The Yes Album and Emerson, Lake and Palmer's debut album).  To me it takes a community to define a genre in that musicians recognize, amongst themselves at the time, a new form or attitude that they want to pick up.  In fact, the similarity is already there in the spread of influence that KC may have sparked in '69-'70 with their album simply combining the various qualities that other bands (Yes, Genesis, ELP) would emulate but in their own unique way.  In this sense a fluid, dynamic genre is born. 
 
One principle that I remember when it comes to identifying a "type" (in this case, genre) is that the boundaries are always fluid.  In fact, in any community, in this case of  music bands, that "evolves" there are always multiple members of that community (species, genres) who give rise to a new type and not just one.  This is analogous to the idea that there is never a single member of a species in biology.  You can't reproduce if you don't have a compatible member of the species to do that with (by definition).
 
This makes using the term progressive to describe music and musicians problematic because analogously the more you focus on the single song or album or musician the less they will appear to be unique and the more they will appear to be derivative of their influences.  But if you take a step back and look at the whole clearly changes are taking place.  But where do you most properly assign the progressive element?  In the part (song, musician, producer, etc...) or the whole?
 


Edited by sealchan - February 11 2010 at 13:34
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2010 at 12:37
I can't really speak for The Flower Kings, but in the case of Porcupine Tree, I do understand to a certain extent as to why they are here. Progressive music has often been associated with blurring the boundaries between different genres, and they have been able to merge trancy rock, pop hooks and crunchier metal sections in a striking and interesting way. Their albums have proven to be ambitious compositionally, with more dynamic and textural awareness than many of their contemporaries, plus a certain level of musical competence that far excels the standard of generic rock. I think it's accumalative, really.

And I picked names out of a hat really, when discussing the idea of creating a prog idiom. Admittedly Pink Floyd is a much more common influence, and I would say Yes has had some impact too. My point really was that this more epic style of writing with instrumental interludes, modal melody and more involved harmonies were first adopted as a way to push the boundaries, and yet now have become attributes which can identify a band as 'prog'. In this sense, you can play in a classic prog vein, surely? The licks might not sound the same, but I could listen to Spock's Beard or Yes thirsting after the same thing. If bands play in odd time or modulate into different keys, are these not common attributes?

Continuing on from that, if playing in a way that was original thirty years ago fails to be progressive anymore, then calling it modern Prog actually sums it up well, because it gives an indication of the style of music. A KC clone band, for instance, might employ orchestral arrangements and use the same quirky soundscapes in a similar way to its influence, and we could just call it modern Prog and be done with it. Now, let's suppose that a band does this, but transforms it into reggae music - I'd call that progressive. It puts old ideas into a new context, and has just broken a very significant boundary. A stupid example I know, but I feel that what many of these younger groups are doing is taking a style of playing (which was originally very innovative by its own merits) and adapting it to fit a different mould - perhaps within a darker and more aggresive form.

Now I'm aware that the land of Opeth and Pain of Salvation and so forth is one of which you remain highly sceptical. But to me, what makes them progressive is the fact that they have done just what I have described in a heavier setting. Plus, in terms of sophistication, you may feel that the songwriting has been dummed down, but I personally hear a lot more coherence and better coordination in the more modern compositions, technology and production aside.

Are you sure modern Prog should be at the very least progressive? If we can happily refer to them as seperate entities, then perhaps one needn't be the subset of another.

Oh, and I plan to check out Ekseption sometime - I got a recommendation concerning them recently.



Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2010 at 03:13
Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

Case in point...when I talk about prog rock I want to hold up as examples both of King Crimson's albums In the Court of the Crimson King AND In the Wake of Poseidon.  If I were concerned with "progressive" music, then I would say the first album is progressive and the second is not. 

 
I'm not 100% convinced that "Progressive" has to be taken completely literally - as many have said, there is a large aspect of style to prog.
 
I would agree that ItWoP is largely in the same style as ItCoTCK, but I don't think that necessarily means it's not a progressive album, and it certainly sounds like a Prog Rock album to me from a few casual hearings.
 
 
 
Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

To me it takes a community to define a genre in that musicians recognize, amongst themselves at the time, a new form or attitude that they want to pick up. 
 
The interesting thing here is that those musicians did not, in fact, call the music Prog, Prog Rock or anything of the sort at the time - this term was applied retrospectively by music journalists (and probably fans too). Robert Fripp is on record as saying he didn't think of his band as being a Prog Rock band - so who is correct?
 
Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

But where do you most properly assign the progressive element?  In the part (song, musician, producer, etc...) or the whole?
 
As I've been saying all along, I think it's more to do with a progressive model than elements - elements can be real red herrings, like trying to identify species from elements, e.g. it has arms and legs, therefore it is a human being.
 
We need a bigger overall model for comparison - and usually we would take an album as the "sample" to compare with that model. We can then look for elements which fit parts of the model, look for clues that indicate the same or similar musical goals, environmental factors, attitude (a real can of worms!) and so on.
 
The important thing to bear in mind is that we're not looking for perfect matches.
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

Progressive music has often been associated with blurring the boundaries between different genres, and they have been able to merge trancy rock, pop hooks and crunchier metal sections in a striking and interesting way.
 
Boundary-crossing and striking/interesting music is not necessarily progressive, though!
 
Yes, there is the association, but it is a single part of progressive music, and also applies to my usual example, ABBA.
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

 
 
Their albums have proven to be ambitious compositionally, with more dynamic and textural awareness than many of their contemporaries, plus a certain level of musical competence that far excels the standard of generic rock. I think it's accumalative, really.
 
Actually, I have listened and found most to NOT be ambitious, compositionally. This is the fact of the matter - there is nothing ambitious about the old Intro/Verse/Chorus/Bridge song structure!
 
There is also no standard for "generic rock" - this is a mythical entity - apart from the song structure I mentioned above.
 
The music I have heard has a decidedly average musical competance level that exceeds, perhaps, Beyonce or Nickelback, or the other low-level stuff, but does not compete with tech metal bands like Megadeth, and is certainly nowhere near the same ball park as King Crimson.
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


And I picked names out of a hat really, when discussing the idea of creating a prog idiom. Admittedly Pink Floyd is a much more common influence, and I would say Yes has had some impact too. My point really was that this more epic style of writing with instrumental interludes, modal melody and more involved harmonies were first adopted as a way to push the boundaries, and yet now have become attributes which can identify a band as 'prog'. In this sense, you can play in a classic prog vein, surely?
 
This is what I mean about elements being real red herrings.
 
Most fans of modern prog when questioned about the genre's credibility talk initially about the "roots in the classic bands", but, as here, back down immediately when challenged for direct comparisons - there are none, of course, except the "simpler" bands, like Floyd.
 
You are right that the elements you mention were first adopted as a way to push boundaries - and now you are fully agreeing with me that the point is no longer to push the boundaries, but simply to use the elements to sound a little proggy - and that is why Modern Prog generally sounds hollow to me.
 
It is possible to play in a classic prog vein, but not in this manner - and, be honest, the music doesn't actually sound anything like classic prog, does it?
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

Now, let's suppose that a band does this, but transforms it into reggae music - I'd call that progressive. It puts old ideas into a new context, and has just broken a very significant boundary. A stupid example I know,
 
Not at all - have you heard Easy Star All-Stars? Their covers of DSoTM and Sgt Pepper are astonishing.
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

 
but I feel that what many of these younger groups are doing is taking a style of playing (which was originally very innovative by its own merits) and adapting it to fit a different mould - perhaps within a darker and more aggresive form.
 
 
To me and MANY others, prog is not just about the style of playing, but about the compositional style.
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


Now I'm aware that the land of Opeth and Pain of Salvation and so forth is one of which you remain highly sceptical. But to me, what makes them progressive is the fact that they have done just what I have described in a heavier setting. Plus, in terms of sophistication, you may feel that the songwriting has been dummed down, but I personally hear a lot more coherence and better coordination in the more modern compositions, technology and production aside.
 
 
More coherence comes from simpler, non-Prog song structures, and better co-ordination comes from the music being far less wild and predictable - e.g no longer adhering to the progressive model.

 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

Are you sure modern Prog should be at the very least progressive?
 
 
Um... yes, and so, I think, would any self-respecting Prog fan.
 
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

If we can happily refer to them as seperate entities, then perhaps one needn't be the subset of another.
 
But then we have a problem with 100s of non-prog bands on a prog music site...
 
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


Oh, and I plan to check out Ekseption sometime - I got a recommendation concerning them recently.
 
They're amusing once or twice, certainly Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2010 at 04:36
Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.



This. I was watching Star Wars Episode V, after watching the new movies... and although i never noticed before, now I can see the difference: the attention to detail in plot and style in the older movies is much better than the newer ones... I think this is the same thing in music: it's lots of little things that make music - progressive or not - great.


Pretty much everyone on this website knows exactly what 'prog' and 'progressive is... when they hear it. How do we know? I'm still not sure... I would still like to stress the difference between 'prog' and 'progressive'... even if i can't say what it is.Confused
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'Prog is all about leaving home...' - Moshkito
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 15 2010 at 04:43
P.S. I still think if we are going to actually take this music we love seriously, we have to accept the good with the bad, and not just say something is progressive if we like it (which i know many are tempted to do). Or maybe we could do this, but we'd have to be really good at it.
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