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Question about Sigur Ros

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dtguitarfan View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 27 2012 at 08:12
I have a friend who found out I liked Progressive Rock and asked me if I listened to Sigur Ros. I hadn't so I started listening to one of their albums. It's very nice, ambient music, but I'm not sure why they qualify as Progressive. Are there specific songs I should listen to in order to better understand the answer to that question?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 13:31
I don't think you need to look up more Sigur Ros as much as you need to expand your notion of "progressive". Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dtguitarfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 13:47
Originally posted by harmonium.ro harmonium.ro wrote:

I don't think you need to look up more Sigur Ros as much as you need to expand your notion of "progressive". Wink


Ok, what is YOUR notion and how does Sigur Ros fit into it? If I pulled out some Moby and said "progressive", what would you say? I mean, Sigur Ros sounded nice...but they just sounded to me like some nice, ambient electronic music. Nothing technical going on, no compositions that took a melody and turned it around and upside down, expanded on it and told a story with it...but like I said, I haven't listened to the whole album. So maybe another song is more progressive.

Sorry, but I'm not of the opinion that "anything goes" for the genre - I believe certain musical characteristics that ARE identifiable have to be present.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colorofmoney91 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 16:20
I don't think "technical" necessarily constitutes as progressive. Sigur Ros simply has compositions that progress beyond standard song structures, the song "Glosoli" being a good representation of that. Their music tells auditory stories with a beginning, middle, and end, usually without typical verse-chorus-verse structure, and they rely heavily on the progression in a certain atmosphere that they establish rather than with the use of explicit vocalizations (though the vocals are there, they are used more as another ethereal instrument than a means to convey a verbal message).

Edited by colorofmoney91 - April 27 2012 at 16:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dtguitarfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 16:49
Originally posted by colorofmoney91 colorofmoney91 wrote:

I don't think "technical" necessarily constitutes as progressive. Sigur Ros simply has compositions that progress beyond standard song structures, the song "Glosoli" being a good representation of that. Their music tells auditory stories with a beginning, middle, and end, usually without typical verse-chorus-verse structure, and they rely heavily on the progression in a certain atmosphere that they establish rather than with the use of explicit vocalizations (though the vocals are there, they are used more as another ethereal instrument than a means to convey a verbal message).

See, this is a good argument, and you provided an example, which is what I was asking for in the first place.  I will go listen to Glosoli now.
All I was saying before is that the music I was listening to sounded sparse and ambient and pleasant, but I didn't hear any characteristics that seemed progressive, and this statement was no cause for a patronizing remark about my conceptions of what Progressive is.  When people make remarks like that, it makes me wonder if THEY know anything about music at all or are just trying to be an all inclusive club.  Which isn't a club at all.  Musical genres are defined by musical characteristics, and if those characteristics are not present an artist should not be classified as part of that genre.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 16:57
Sorry if you took offense, I put a winkie there just in case, seems like it didn't help clear things (it was a light hearted remark). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Proletariat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 17:12
Progressive in y opinion has very little to do with technical... it is possible to be highly technical without being progressive. Progressive is about taking sound in different directions and combining sounds in interesting ways. Often this tends to be technical but that isn't the point. For a band like sigur ros it has more to do with the fact that they take classical jazz and electronic structures and translate them into rock music that is barely recognisable as rock.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 17:57
The specific sub-genre that Sigur Ros is considered part of , by the way , is "Post-Rock".  It's a dumb name, but it seems to encompass a progressive style of rock that bears little resemblance to the prog bands who use a lot of notes, and/or complicated keys and meters. This stuff is still complex in its own way, but not in the sense of being difficult to play, more like being difficult to achieve the right texture, blend of sounds, and control of dynamics.  Achieving the right atmosphere with these tools is the ultimate goal, and that's harder than it may seem.

I don't know of any Sigur Ros that resembled electronica, rather I hear a lot of pianos, tuned percussion, clean guitars, and oh-so-high vocals.  My favorite album is the untitled one known as ().


Edited by HolyMoly - April 27 2012 at 17:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 19:05
Originally posted by colorofmoney91 colorofmoney91 wrote:

I don't think "technical" necessarily constitutes as progressive. Sigur Ros simply has compositions that progress beyond standard song structures, the song "Glosoli" being a good representation of that. Their music tells auditory stories with a beginning, middle, and end, usually without typical verse-chorus-verse structure, and they rely heavily on the progression in a certain atmosphere that they establish rather than with the use of explicit vocalizations (though the vocals are there, they are used more as another ethereal instrument than a means to convey a verbal message).


Very insightful post Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colorofmoney91 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 27 2012 at 19:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 28 2012 at 03:54
Originally posted by harmonium.ro harmonium.ro wrote:

Sorry if you took offense, I put a winkie there just in case, seems like it didn't help clear things (it was a light hearted remark). 

Yeah. I got that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghost_of_morphy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 14:28
Originally posted by Proletariat Proletariat wrote:

Progressive in y opinion has very little to do with technical... it is possible to be highly technical without being progressive. Progressive is about taking sound in different directions and combining sounds in interesting ways. Often this tends to be technical but that isn't the point. For a band like sigur ros it has more to do with the fact that they take classical jazz and electronic structures and translate them into rock music that is barely recognisable as rock.
I'd agree with all of this except the last six words.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dtguitarfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 17:19
I still haven't listened to a whole Sigur Ros album.  However, I did listen to Gobledigook and now I see what it is that people are saying is progressive about them.

I would however, disagree that Progressive has little to do with technical - how is it possible to make music that uses compound time signatures and is composed in a narrative style without being even a little technical?  I think the genre is by nature more technical than most musical genres.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 17:39
But Sigur Ros isn't technical and normally doesn't have music with narratives and odd time signatures, they simply take music further than any other band has previously which is what makes them progressive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colorofmoney91 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 17:52
Originally posted by dtguitarfan dtguitarfan wrote:

I still haven't listened to a whole Sigur Ros album.  However, I did listen to Gobledigook and now I see what it is that people are saying is progressive about them.

I would however, disagree that Progressive has little to do with technical - how is it possible to make music that uses compound time signatures and is composed in a narrative style without being even a little technical?  I think the genre is by nature more technical than most musical genres.

Technical ability is common in prog but not absolutely necessary, and is only one of the components of progressive music, along other elements of compositional sophistication.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 17:54
Progressive is more about development of form rather than technicality, and there's a huge amount of music based on technicality and virtuosism that isn't progressive, see guitar shredding music. It's sure nice to have both in one package, but it's still progressive when Sigur Ros (and many psychedelic, krautrock, fusion, electronic prog acts) rely on a songwriting that develops form in a subtle manner based on minimal contrasts and slow "narration", less assertive lines and more textures, etc.  Smile

Edited by harmonium.ro - April 29 2012 at 17:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 29 2012 at 23:53
Well if you are a traditionalist then I guess they're not because it's not rock that progresses.
To be more specific it's not 70s style rock that progresses...

If you want to take a more liberal view, than prog rock isn't just rock that progresses and is technical.
It's tough for me to personally describe but I guess it's more about the nature than the music. A progressive nature.
This more loose view can lead to problems..,because there's a floodgate tendency (omg this is slightly different from the norm so it's progressive) but I like it better than a strict definition. I mean how prog is that anyway??

The technical aspect is a big one to many people and it kind of bugs me because pretty much technicality = prog and that tends to be the extent of debate.

Just rambling elitism...I really don't care and Sigur Ros is certainly prog rock :D


Edited by JJLehto - April 29 2012 at 23:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2012 at 00:13
I am not a major fan of Sigur Ros. But I recognise their progressive influences especially on 



and 




and even




thou thats their least proggy album

Very ambient relaxing music with non commercial styles, unusual meters and sigs, strange musical nuances, and lengthy compositions - Prog! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2012 at 00:17
One of my fave Sigur Ros is here


sheer beauty


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caretaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2012 at 19:56
Very pretty. I just started getting into Sigur Ros myself. Very refreshing.
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