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Why classic prog faded?

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    Posted: September 30 2013 at 22:48
Originally posted by progbethyname

Originally posted by The.Crimson.King


Originally posted by Surrealist

Computers changed the game, and that is way classic prog faded.  Before computers entered the recording studios, bands had to play the stuff.. even if they were punching tracks.. still had to do it.  Now with technology, Snoop Dog is now Snoop Lion the Reggae star.  You used to have to earn your way into Prog, now it's just copy and paste your way into it.

Coming into this thread late, but <span style="line-height: 1.2;">I don't see why so many are attacking Surrealist and calling him names for having a point of view...it's like a differing opinion is somehow threatening and must be quashed at all costs.  Is there no room for an opinion that challenges your own on PA?  We're talking about the art of music here and as such there is no absolute truth that can be proven in a lab, there is simply a collection of opinions and I find it disheartening when others here are not open minded and willing to accept that.</span>


Originally posted by The.Crimson.King


Originally posted by Surrealist

Computers changed the game, and that is way classic prog faded.  Before computers entered the recording studios, bands had to play the stuff.. even if they were punching tracks.. still had to do it.  Now with technology, Snoop Dog is now Snoop Lion the Reggae star.  You used to have to earn your way into Prog, now it's just copy and paste your way into it.

Coming into this thread late, but <span style="line-height: 1.2;">I don't see why so many are attacking Surrealist and calling him names for having a point of view...it's like a differing opinion is somehow threatening and must be quashed at all costs.  Is there no room for an opinion that challenges your own on PA?  We're talking about the art of music here and as such there is no absolute truth that can be proven in a lab, there is simply a collection of opinions and I find it disheartening when others here are not open minded and willing to accept that.</span>


Gotta agree here 100%. It isn't fair at all. I think some people even wanted Surrealist to change a review he wrote for Gentle Giant's FREEHAND if I am not mistaken. That wasnt fair either. I wonder if Nazi's exist here on PA?
   But anyway. I think their is in most cases to disagree with someone's opinions in a nice manner...it can be an art really.

Lastly, To say how classic rock faded ( key word is faded, not extinct) definitively is far too difficult to say or tell because it would be a collection of variables and not just a single one. I think the sole purpose and definition of what 'evolution' is would be one variable or factor as to why classic rock is almost extinct.

I will pose a question. Could the evolution of hard rock, metal and or Prog metal have played a hand in squishing the popularity of Classic rock?

Lol. I really don't hear new bands in Rock sounding like TRIUMPH or BOSTON anymore.


I should make it clear that classic rock, in my opinion has very close ties to classic Prog. A lot of classic Rock bands were definitely Prog-related, so I think it's fair to include bands like blue Oyster Cult, Blue Cheer and even the Doors for that matter. It's not just King Crimson, YES and Genesis etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 00:39
Originally posted by Dean

^Ah, I surmise from that you haven't tried to converse with Mr Surrealist before Dennis.
 
Heigh-ho.

To be honest, I've just read through his posts in this thread and I mostly agree with his opinions.  While I don't think computers in the recording studio is the sole reason for classic progs fade, it did drastically lower the level of musicianship necessary to create a viable/sellable musical statement (or "product" as it was soon about to become).  I think that is something that was lost in the fade out of classic prog...the virtuoso player.  I went to prog shows in the 70's to see something amazing.  Emerson, Fripp, Squire, Wakeman, Palmer, Howe, Banks, Bruford, Wetton, Gabriel, Moraz, Minnear...these were players that a young musician could look up to, a high standard of musicianship to aspire to and measure yourself against.

With the advent of recording studio computer wizardry, the virtuoso became as necessary as an 8-track tape.  Can't hold a tune?  No problem, we'll auto-tune you to sound like Jon Anderson.  Can't play 8 measures of 16th notes on a creaky ARP Pro Soloist at 130bpm?  No sweat, our software can increase speed without altering pitch.  Mess up a note?  No need to punch-in and rerecord, we'll fix it in Pro Tools.  Can't compose music?  Simple, we'll just take a sample of 21st Century Schizoid Man.  Other factors also rang the death knell of classic prog...changing popular tastes, the music industry run by decision making accountants rather than music lovers, and the video revolution which wouldn't tolerate a 20 minute prog epic as it would keep MTV from running commercials every 5 minutes.

However you slice it, classic prog (like all musical trends) was inevitably doomed.  It's fate was sealed the day Greg Lake set foot on that priceless Persian rug LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Surrealist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 00:57
Well,

What kind of albums would modern bands make if they had to go back and do it on tape machines and leave the computers at the office?

I would argue that sometimes restrictions are good.  The Classical Symphony is restricted to using acoustic instruments in it's traditional setting.  An upright bass in a jazz combo has a certain feel that an electric bass cannot simulate.   Classic Prog had it's own set of standard instruments... and the difference between bands was mostly how the musicians interacted with those instruments... and the various compositional ideas. 

I would also argue that in the classic era, we listened to music on big sound systems.. often tube amps with speakers like Klipsch or JBL or Advents that really took us inside the music.  We all heard DSOTM on someone's system or their parents system that really took us there.  I don't think kids today and their silly earbuds are going to have the same experience.... not even close.  There was a lot of music being made for audiophiles... and many of the Prog bands were right at the forefront of that movement into high fidelity. 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 01:45
Originally posted by progbethyname

Originally posted by The.Crimson.King


Originally posted by Surrealist

Computers changed the game, and that is way classic prog faded.  Before computers entered the recording studios, bands had to play the stuff.. even if they were punching tracks.. still had to do it.  Now with technology, Snoop Dog is now Snoop Lion the Reggae star.  You used to have to earn your way into Prog, now it's just copy and paste your way into it.

Coming into this thread late, but <span style="line-height: 1.2;">I don't see why so many are attacking Surrealist and calling him names for having a point of view...it's like a differing opinion is somehow threatening and must be quashed at all costs.  Is there no room for an opinion that challenges your own on PA?  We're talking about the art of music here and as such there is no absolute truth that can be proven in a lab, there is simply a collection of opinions and I find it disheartening when others here are not open minded and willing to accept that.</span>


Originally posted by The.Crimson.King


Originally posted by Surrealist

Computers changed the game, and that is way classic prog faded.  Before computers entered the recording studios, bands had to play the stuff.. even if they were punching tracks.. still had to do it.  Now with technology, Snoop Dog is now Snoop Lion the Reggae star.  You used to have to earn your way into Prog, now it's just copy and paste your way into it.

Coming into this thread late, but <span style="line-height: 1.2;">I don't see why so many are attacking Surrealist and calling him names for having a point of view...it's like a differing opinion is somehow threatening and must be quashed at all costs.  Is there no room for an opinion that challenges your own on PA?  We're talking about the art of music here and as such there is no absolute truth that can be proven in a lab, there is simply a collection of opinions and I find it disheartening when others here are not open minded and willing to accept that.</span>


Gotta agree here 100%. It isn't fair at all. I think some people even wanted Surrealist to change a review he wrote for Gentle Giant's FREEHAND if I am not mistaken. That wasnt fair either. I wonder if Nazi's exist here on PA?
   But anyway. I think their is in most cases to disagree with someone's opinions in a nice manner...it can be an art really.
You are confused and are confusing three different people - Surrealist, the owner of an Analogue Recording Studio, Aquiring The Taste, an auzzie with a username that is a misspelt Gentle Giant title and Tubes, an 18 yearold kid who decided to right the wrongs of overrating and then bragged about it.

Originally posted by progbethyname


Lastly, To say how classic rock faded ( key word is faded, not extinct) definitively is far too difficult to say or tell because it would be a collection of variables and not just a single one. I think the sole purpose and definition of what 'evolution' is would be one variable or factor as to why classic rock is almost extinct.

I will pose a question. Could the evolution of hard rock, metal and or Prog metal have played a hand in squishing the popularity of Classic rock?

Lol. I really don't hear new bands in Rock sounding like TRIUMPH or BOSTON anymore.
The title asks: "Why classic prog faded?" - ( key word is prog, not rock) not a grammatically correct title I will grant you, but it isn't asking after classic rock.


Edited by Dean - October 01 2013 at 01:46


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 01:50
Originally posted by Surrealist

Well,

What kind of albums would modern bands make if they had to go back and do it on tape machines and leave the computers at the office?
Noisy ones with a very poor frequency response and limited dynamics.
 
 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 09:10
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Dean

^Ah, I surmise from that you haven't tried to converse with Mr Surrealist before Dennis.
 
Heigh-ho.

To be honest, I've just read through his posts in this thread and I mostly agree with his opinions.  While I don't think computers in the recording studio is the sole reason for classic progs fade, it did drastically lower the level of musicianship necessary to create a viable/sellable musical statement (or "product" as it was soon about to become).  I think that is something that was lost in the fade out of classic prog...the virtuoso player.  I went to prog shows in the 70's to see something amazing.  Emerson, Fripp, Squire, Wakeman, Palmer, Howe, Banks, Bruford, Wetton, Gabriel, Moraz, Minnear...these were players that a young musician could look up to, a high standard of musicianship to aspire to and measure yourself against.

With the advent of recording studio computer wizardry, the virtuoso became as necessary as an 8-track tape.  Can't hold a tune?  No problem, we'll auto-tune you to sound like Jon Anderson.  Can't play 8 measures of 16th notes on a creaky ARP Pro Soloist at 130bpm?  No sweat, our software can increase speed without altering pitch.  Mess up a note?  No need to punch-in and rerecord, we'll fix it in Pro Tools.  Can't compose music?  Simple, we'll just take a sample of 21st Century Schizoid Man.  Other factors also rang the death knell of classic prog...changing popular tastes, the music industry run by decision making accountants rather than music lovers, and the video revolution which wouldn't tolerate a 20 minute prog epic as it would keep MTV from running commercials every 5 minutes.

However you slice it, classic prog (like all musical trends) was inevitably doomed.  It's fate was sealed the day Greg Lake set foot on that priceless Persian rug LOL


I may have come on a bit strong before, but only because Surrealist's points weren't delivered in a thoughtful and empathetic manner like you just didSmile I tend to agree with a lot of what you guys have to say, but when these points are delivered to put every new prog act under one roof, it bugs the hell out of me. 
It is very plausible that pro tools and similar electronics have lowered the standard of current musicians (I don't believe that in a heartbeat though. There are just as many fine musicians out there now - and some of them are perhaps even more skilful imo, the sonic expressions have just changed into all these different branchings (Metal, Math, Post and what-have-you). The problem for me is when these skills turn into showmanship for the sake of just that instead of musical "feel". Metronome musicians, where the players turn into these pseudo-robots, but then again that's just my tastesSmile), but in the end it has something to do with the very person taking shortcuts - ie deciding to make use of it. This is not pro tools fault or any computers for that matter, it's the musicians utilising them. It's like saying that weaponry are responsible for wars. 

Plus I see a truckload of artists going back to the roots - like seriously back to the roots with the current retro prog wave, and they don't use much of anything to be honest. Astra and Hypnos69 spring to mind, but there are literally hundreds of new bands out there who don't utilise these 'mending tools'. Some of them actually record like they were doing in 1971, perhaps even more crudelyLOL Again, this is all down to where you decide to look, and I gather one can arrive at any generalisation if one decides to look for that, and only that.



Edited by Guldbamsen - October 01 2013 at 09:14
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 11:01
Now what, Bela Fleck and Flecktones were just computer animated objects who couldn't hold an instrument if their life depended on it?   What exactly is most bands anyway?  It's just a generalisation.   If there are bands or artists that you appreciate, go watch their shows, buy their music and support the scene.   That is the only chance it stands of subsisting anyway.   But if you decide that all is lost, all probably will eventually be lost.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 13:39
Originally posted by Guldbamsen

Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Dean

^Ah, I surmise from that you haven't tried to converse with Mr Surrealist before Dennis.
 
Heigh-ho.

To be honest, I've just read through his posts in this thread and I mostly agree with his opinions.  While I don't think computers in the recording studio is the sole reason for classic progs fade, it did drastically lower the level of musicianship necessary to create a viable/sellable musical statement (or "product" as it was soon about to become).  I think that is something that was lost in the fade out of classic prog...the virtuoso player.  I went to prog shows in the 70's to see something amazing.  Emerson, Fripp, Squire, Wakeman, Palmer, Howe, Banks, Bruford, Wetton, Gabriel, Moraz, Minnear...these were players that a young musician could look up to, a high standard of musicianship to aspire to and measure yourself against.

With the advent of recording studio computer wizardry, the virtuoso became as necessary as an 8-track tape.  Can't hold a tune?  No problem, we'll auto-tune you to sound like Jon Anderson.  Can't play 8 measures of 16th notes on a creaky ARP Pro Soloist at 130bpm?  No sweat, our software can increase speed without altering pitch.  Mess up a note?  No need to punch-in and rerecord, we'll fix it in Pro Tools.  Can't compose music?  Simple, we'll just take a sample of 21st Century Schizoid Man.  Other factors also rang the death knell of classic prog...changing popular tastes, the music industry run by decision making accountants rather than music lovers, and the video revolution which wouldn't tolerate a 20 minute prog epic as it would keep MTV from running commercials every 5 minutes.

However you slice it, classic prog (like all musical trends) was inevitably doomed.  It's fate was sealed the day Greg Lake set foot on that priceless Persian rug LOL

I may have come on a bit strong before, but only because Surrealist's points weren't delivered in a thoughtful and empathetic manner like you just didSmile I tend to agree with a lot of what you guys have to say, but when these points are delivered to put every new prog act under one roof, it bugs the hell out of me. 
It is very plausible that pro tools and similar electronics have lowered the standard of current musicians (I don't believe that in a heartbeat though. There are just as many fine musicians out there now - and some of them are perhaps even more skilful imo, the sonic expressions have just changed into all these different branchings (Metal, Math, Post and what-have-you). The problem for me is when these skills turn into showmanship for the sake of just that instead of musical "feel". Metronome musicians, where the players turn into these pseudo-robots, but then again that's just my tastesSmile), but in the end it has something to do with the very person taking shortcuts - ie deciding to make use of it. This is not pro tools fault or any computers for that matter, it's the musicians utilising them. It's like saying that weaponry are responsible for wars. 

I think I understand your point of view.  As for myself, I'm not advocating that there are only two types of prog - pre computer recording tools and post (kinda like a prog BC and AD LOL  Certainly there's no reason I would write off a 2013 prog band if I liked the sound just because they recorded in a digital computer studio.  It's the end result reaching my ears that matters...just as I don't care if my home is built by a carpenter using a hammer vs a compressed-air-powered-super-hydrolic-nail-gun-dispensing-5000-cement-coated-nails-per-minute.  I follow Frank Zappa's concept..."If it sounds good to you, it's bitchin.  If it sounds bad, it's sh*tty".    

I mostly concur with your statement that puts the ultimate responsibility for the use or misuse of these tools in the hands of the musicians but with one twist.  I believe often times it's pushed by whoever is ultimately paying the recording studio bill.  It's clearly cheaper to "fix-it-in-the-mix" with 30 seconds of mouse clicks than crank up the band for 20 more takes looking for magic.  I think this is a bigger problem with young bands who don't have much weight to throw around and are just insanely happy to even be in a recording studio.  Can you imagine a record company exec showing up at a Crimso session and telling Fripp, "we can't afford any more guitar takes on Thrak, we'll just fix your solo with pro tools" LOL

My experience as a prog musician sadly watching classic prog fade in the late 70's was that the huge labels changed from being driven by A&R reps who loved music, to MBA's who only cared about turning profit.  If you were doing something innovative and different (or dare I say, "progressive")  the labels would no longer take a chance on you because there was no guarantee you'd "move" 1,000,000 "units" of "product" with your 1st album.  However, if you sounded like a Led Zep clone, it was, "Come in here dear boy, have a cigar, you're gonna go far".  Further, studio time is always crazy expensive so cutting corners became the labels mantra and the pro tool era was a godsend for them...but in many ways a curse as well.

I don't think pro tools etc...has lowered the standard of "all" current day musicians, but I do think it's made it much easier to "manufacture" music rather than organically "create" it the hard way.  It's also quite tempting to record one great take of a chorus and "cut and paste" that to all the chorus sections rather than doing it the long way (something I've done a few too many times myself LOL).  Because of that, I think it's made many musicians lazy.  The days of 5 guys in a practice room hammering out ideas for months that evolve into epics like Suppers Ready, Awaken, Tales, Subterranea, The Light, etc...are on their last legs and are the exception not the rule.  Because of that, for better or worse, I find that by far the biggest percentage of prog in my collection is from the classic period.  I have explored many of the modern prog bands that are praised on PA, but I just haven't really found anything that knocks me out.  That doesn't mean I don't think it's great that modern prog bands are carrying the banner and have lots of fans on PA.  Nor does it mean I'll never check out a modern prog band again because as long as prog lives there's always a chance to find something amazing Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 14:33
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Guldbamsen

Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Dean

^Ah, I surmise from that you haven't tried to converse with Mr Surrealist before Dennis.
 
Heigh-ho.

To be honest, I've just read through his posts in this thread and I mostly agree with his opinions.  While I don't think computers in the recording studio is the sole reason for classic progs fade, it did drastically lower the level of musicianship necessary to create a viable/sellable musical statement (or "product" as it was soon about to become).  I think that is something that was lost in the fade out of classic prog...the virtuoso player.  I went to prog shows in the 70's to see something amazing.  Emerson, Fripp, Squire, Wakeman, Palmer, Howe, Banks, Bruford, Wetton, Gabriel, Moraz, Minnear...these were players that a young musician could look up to, a high standard of musicianship to aspire to and measure yourself against.

With the advent of recording studio computer wizardry, the virtuoso became as necessary as an 8-track tape.  Can't hold a tune?  No problem, we'll auto-tune you to sound like Jon Anderson.  Can't play 8 measures of 16th notes on a creaky ARP Pro Soloist at 130bpm?  No sweat, our software can increase speed without altering pitch.  Mess up a note?  No need to punch-in and rerecord, we'll fix it in Pro Tools.  Can't compose music?  Simple, we'll just take a sample of 21st Century Schizoid Man.  Other factors also rang the death knell of classic prog...changing popular tastes, the music industry run by decision making accountants rather than music lovers, and the video revolution which wouldn't tolerate a 20 minute prog epic as it would keep MTV from running commercials every 5 minutes.

However you slice it, classic prog (like all musical trends) was inevitably doomed.  It's fate was sealed the day Greg Lake set foot on that priceless Persian rug LOL

I may have come on a bit strong before, but only because Surrealist's points weren't delivered in a thoughtful and empathetic manner like you just didSmile I tend to agree with a lot of what you guys have to say, but when these points are delivered to put every new prog act under one roof, it bugs the hell out of me. 
It is very plausible that pro tools and similar electronics have lowered the standard of current musicians (I don't believe that in a heartbeat though. There are just as many fine musicians out there now - and some of them are perhaps even more skilful imo, the sonic expressions have just changed into all these different branchings (Metal, Math, Post and what-have-you). The problem for me is when these skills turn into showmanship for the sake of just that instead of musical "feel". Metronome musicians, where the players turn into these pseudo-robots, but then again that's just my tastesSmile), but in the end it has something to do with the very person taking shortcuts - ie deciding to make use of it. This is not pro tools fault or any computers for that matter, it's the musicians utilising them. It's like saying that weaponry are responsible for wars. 

I think I understand your point of view.  As for myself, I'm not advocating that there are only two types of prog - pre computer recording tools and post (kinda like a prog BC and AD LOL  Certainly there's no reason I would write off a 2013 prog band if I liked the sound just because they recorded in a digital computer studio.  It's the end result reaching my ears that matters...just as I don't care if my home is built by a carpenter using a hammer vs a compressed-air-powered-super-hydrolic-nail-gun-dispensing-5000-cement-coated-nails-per-minute.  I follow Frank Zappa's concept..."If it sounds good to you, it's bitchin.  If it sounds bad, it's sh*tty".    

I mostly concur with your statement that puts the ultimate responsibility for the use or misuse of these tools in the hands of the musicians but with one twist.  I believe often times it's pushed by whoever is ultimately paying the recording studio bill.  It's clearly cheaper to "fix-it-in-the-mix" with 30 seconds of mouse clicks than crank up the band for 20 more takes looking for magic.  I think this is a bigger problem with young bands who don't have much weight to throw around and are just insanely happy to even be in a recording studio.  Can you imagine a record company exec showing up at a Crimso session and telling Fripp, "we can't afford any more guitar takes on Thrak, we'll just fix your solo with pro tools" LOL

My experience as a prog musician sadly watching classic prog fade in the late 70's was that the huge labels changed from being driven by A&R reps who loved music, to MBA's who only cared about turning profit.  If you were doing something innovative and different (or dare I say, "progressive")  the labels would no longer take a chance on you because there was no guarantee you'd "move" 1,000,000 "units" of "product" with your 1st album.  However, if you sounded like a Led Zep clone, it was, "Come in here dear boy, have a cigar, you're gonna go far".  Further, studio time is always crazy expensive so cutting corners became the labels mantra and the pro tool era was a godsend for them...but in many ways a curse as well.

I don't think pro tools etc...has lowered the standard of "all" current day musicians, but I do think it's made it much easier to "manufacture" music rather than organically "create" it the hard way.  It's also quite tempting to record one great take of a chorus and "cut and paste" that to all the chorus sections rather than doing it the long way (something I've done a few too many times myself LOL).  Because of that, I think it's made many musicians lazy.  The days of 5 guys in a practice room hammering out ideas for months that evolve into epics like Suppers Ready, Awaken, Tales, Subterranea, The Light, etc...are on their last legs and are the exception not the rule.  Because of that, for better or worse, I find that by far the biggest percentage of prog in my collection is from the classic period.  I have explored many of the modern prog bands that are praised on PA, but I just haven't really found anything that knocks me out.  That doesn't mean I don't think it's great that modern prog bands are carrying the banner and have lots of fans on PA.  Nor does it mean I'll never check out a modern prog band again because as long as prog lives there's always a chance to find something amazing Wink


Clap
Very insightful post. I'm glad to have read it.
Truth be told, I feel a little odd advocating modern prog as I am far more of a fan of the old school - even if that has something to do with production values and the inclusion of "mistakes" in the music (perfect doesn't equate brilliance to me). I just commented on something I felt was unfounded and quite frankly disrespectful to a lot of the new kids on the block is all.
I am still learning - always learning - here on PA, and I certainly don't pretend to know which way the wind blows when it comes down to what goes on in the studios, how things are done and who's calling the shots, so it's very interesting to hear from people like yourself who've had experiences with all these things, but I do know what I read and more importantly hear - and not everything seems to reflect the abysmal pro tools scenario.

I do love a lot of the new stuff though, but I gather peeps who were there at the infancy of prog rock wouldn't see these acts as prog - nor do I for that matter, but I think it's imperative to have an ear to the ground, if one expects things to move forward and develop as they go along - much like prog did back in the day. It's also to do with the audiences and their will to embrace new sounds. When I hear Ulver, Cabezas de Cera, Alcest or Zombi for that matter, I may pick up on a few hints to a musical legacy, but the final product is crystallized in something new and modern. Porcupine Tree did the same for me back when I got into them/him, and I think that has everything to do with the genre. An acknowledgement of what went before and then experimenting with oneself and the instrument you're playing, even if that is a "computer"LOL, and then see what comes out at the other end. I'm not a fan of templates - never was.
I'm not looking for things that are 'progressive' per se, but I look for submersion and 'feel', and the one thing that I personally lack in a lot of the current bands I've come across are the aforementioned "mistakes" and a looser approach to music making that lets the players get off into whatever mystic labyrinth or whatever one wishes to call it. Controlled bewilderment if you like. If such a thing is to be attained, it'll probably not be happening in studios where the big boss man is out to make a quick buck in a short amount of time. These things take time I would imagine, or maybe they don't and they just flow freely - either way, with the current shape of things, the easy buck is likely far away from the musicians' grasp. Artistic freedom today does seem equivalent to obscurity. 
What was I talking about again?LOL Suffice to say, you inspired me and thanks for that.


Edited by Guldbamsen - October 01 2013 at 14:53
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 16:43
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Guldbamsen

Originally posted by The.Crimson.King

Originally posted by Dean

^Ah, I surmise from that you haven't tried to converse with Mr Surrealist before Dennis.
 
Heigh-ho.

To be honest, I've just read through his posts in this thread and I mostly agree with his opinions.  While I don't think computers in the recording studio is the sole reason for classic progs fade, it did drastically lower the level of musicianship necessary to create a viable/sellable musical statement (or "product" as it was soon about to become).  I think that is something that was lost in the fade out of classic prog...the virtuoso player.  I went to prog shows in the 70's to see something amazing.  Emerson, Fripp, Squire, Wakeman, Palmer, Howe, Banks, Bruford, Wetton, Gabriel, Moraz, Minnear...these were players that a young musician could look up to, a high standard of musicianship to aspire to and measure yourself against.

With the advent of recording studio computer wizardry, the virtuoso became as necessary as an 8-track tape.  Can't hold a tune?  No problem, we'll auto-tune you to sound like Jon Anderson.  Can't play 8 measures of 16th notes on a creaky ARP Pro Soloist at 130bpm?  No sweat, our software can increase speed without altering pitch.  Mess up a note?  No need to punch-in and rerecord, we'll fix it in Pro Tools.  Can't compose music?  Simple, we'll just take a sample of 21st Century Schizoid Man.  Other factors also rang the death knell of classic prog...changing popular tastes, the music industry run by decision making accountants rather than music lovers, and the video revolution which wouldn't tolerate a 20 minute prog epic as it would keep MTV from running commercials every 5 minutes.

However you slice it, classic prog (like all musical trends) was inevitably doomed.  It's fate was sealed the day Greg Lake set foot on that priceless Persian rug LOL

I may have come on a bit strong before, but only because Surrealist's points weren't delivered in a thoughtful and empathetic manner like you just didSmile I tend to agree with a lot of what you guys have to say, but when these points are delivered to put every new prog act under one roof, it bugs the hell out of me. 
It is very plausible that pro tools and similar electronics have lowered the standard of current musicians (I don't believe that in a heartbeat though. There are just as many fine musicians out there now - and some of them are perhaps even more skilful imo, the sonic expressions have just changed into all these different branchings (Metal, Math, Post and what-have-you). The problem for me is when these skills turn into showmanship for the sake of just that instead of musical "feel". Metronome musicians, where the players turn into these pseudo-robots, but then again that's just my tastesSmile), but in the end it has something to do with the very person taking shortcuts - ie deciding to make use of it. This is not pro tools fault or any computers for that matter, it's the musicians utilising them. It's like saying that weaponry are responsible for wars. 

I think I understand your point of view.  As for myself, I'm not advocating that there are only two types of prog - pre computer recording tools and post (kinda like a prog BC and AD LOL  Certainly there's no reason I would write off a 2013 prog band if I liked the sound just because they recorded in a digital computer studio.  It's the end result reaching my ears that matters...just as I don't care if my home is built by a carpenter using a hammer vs a compressed-air-powered-super-hydrolic-nail-gun-dispensing-5000-cement-coated-nails-per-minute.  I follow Frank Zappa's concept..."If it sounds good to you, it's bitchin.  If it sounds bad, it's sh*tty".    

I mostly concur with your statement that puts the ultimate responsibility for the use or misuse of these tools in the hands of the musicians but with one twist.  I believe often times it's pushed by whoever is ultimately paying the recording studio bill.  It's clearly cheaper to "fix-it-in-the-mix" with 30 seconds of mouse clicks than crank up the band for 20 more takes looking for magic.  I think this is a bigger problem with young bands who don't have much weight to throw around and are just insanely happy to even be in a recording studio.  Can you imagine a record company exec showing up at a Crimso session and telling Fripp, "we can't afford any more guitar takes on Thrak, we'll just fix your solo with pro tools" LOL

My experience as a prog musician sadly watching classic prog fade in the late 70's was that the huge labels changed from being driven by A&R reps who loved music, to MBA's who only cared about turning profit.  If you were doing something innovative and different (or dare I say, "progressive")  the labels would no longer take a chance on you because there was no guarantee you'd "move" 1,000,000 "units" of "product" with your 1st album.  However, if you sounded like a Led Zep clone, it was, "Come in here dear boy, have a cigar, you're gonna go far".  Further, studio time is always crazy expensive so cutting corners became the labels mantra and the pro tool era was a godsend for them...but in many ways a curse as well.

I don't think pro tools etc...has lowered the standard of "all" current day musicians, but I do think it's made it much easier to "manufacture" music rather than organically "create" it the hard way.  It's also quite tempting to record one great take of a chorus and "cut and paste" that to all the chorus sections rather than doing it the long way (something I've done a few too many times myself LOL).  Because of that, I think it's made many musicians lazy.  The days of 5 guys in a practice room hammering out ideas for months that evolve into epics like Suppers Ready, Awaken, Tales, Subterranea, The Light, etc...are on their last legs and are the exception not the rule.  Because of that, for better or worse, I find that by far the biggest percentage of prog in my collection is from the classic period.  I have explored many of the modern prog bands that are praised on PA, but I just haven't really found anything that knocks me out.  That doesn't mean I don't think it's great that modern prog bands are carrying the banner and have lots of fans on PA.  Nor does it mean I'll never check out a modern prog band again because as long as prog lives there's always a chance to find something amazing Wink
Time is Money. That has been a truism since Les Paul first started using multitrack recording. In a recent interview promoting Genesis Revisited II, Steve Hackett said that he wanted to re-record the old Genesis songs because the studio time back in the 70s was limited and the recordings were rushed, squeezed between long touring schedules. They had mistakes in them he didn't like, fluffed notes that they were not allowed to re-record because time was money. {If you look at Genesis 1972 tour schedule (England, France and Italy) you'll see there is was little time to gestate Supper's Ready prior to recording it - also as far as I can tell it was not performed live prior to recording, unlike Watcher, Can Utility and Get'em Out by Friday - the idea of them stewing Supper's Ready for months in a rehearsal room is a nice notion, but I find it unlikely}
 
So last year he did just that and what we have in Revisited II is a very good album of remakes, note perfect in every way, with pristine playing, clear separation and placement and the primitive "orchestral" layering of those 1970s Trident studio sessions is now replaced with lush full-bodied studio orchestral-synthesis of what those "symphonic" pioneers where trying to create with a mellotron and a Hammond. I do not for one second believe that Steve Hackett used Pro-Tools to cheat here, I believe he used the tools to apply the degree of dedication and time to the tracks that he felt they deserved, he used the tools to enable the perfect take to be slotted in where it was supposed to be, to record each instrument with care and precision. I cannot imagine that someone like Steve Hackett would permit the use of Autotune,or cut'n'paste of a chorus.  
 
Foxtrot show signs of an album recorded under tight time constraints and unfamiliarity with the recording studio (Trident was state-of-the-art at the time, one of the first 16-track studios in London, unfortunately that is not reflected in the recording of Foxtrot), Revisited II shows what happens to that material when time is not an issue and the artist, engineer and producer have access to best recording equipment and know how to use it.
 
Which you prefer of those two recordings is a matter of subjective opinion. Objectively it cannot be claimed that the 1972 recording is better than the 2012 recording from any technical perspective even if you prefer the original Supper's Ready over the new version. Personally, I like both (though some people around here don't like my fence-sitting on things like that), I like to hear every note and every nuance of every note on the new version, I prefer its deeper production, I really like the use of dynamics that Hackett wrings out of it, but then I like the mush wall of noise on the original, its rushed immediacy and spontaneity and I will always prefer Peter Gabriel's vocal over any of the recent karaoke versions.
 
Used properly, in the hands of people who know what they are doing, the modern recording studio is exactly what Prog Rock musicians of the 1970s were striving for. The problem it seems, is that it isn't what the fans of the 1970s want.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 20:47
The problem is some of the same people who ushered in studio perfection and used to rave about the power of synthesizers have turned their back on it and started grumbling about its results. e.g The Steely Dan duo, Steven Wilson.  When I was growing up, I would hear artists saying that with modern keyboards, you no longer needed an orchestra in a positive way.  Now, they want to go back to live instruments and mistakes.   There seems to be some confusion in music culture right now.  It's not mistakes or lack thereof that made the music great earlier, it was their creativity.  So is this new found obsession with old production techniques a reflection of a dearth of creativity for these artists?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Neo-Romantic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 21:01

Originally posted by rogerthat

The problem is some of the same people who ushered in studio perfection and used to rave about the power of synthesizers have turned their back on it and started grumbling about its results. e.g The Steely Dan duo, Steven Wilson.  When I was growing up, I would hear artists saying that with modern keyboards, you no longer needed an orchestra in a positive way.  Now, they want to go back to live instruments and mistakes.   There seems to be some confusion in music culture right now.  It's not mistakes or lack thereof that made the music great earlier, it was their creativity.  So is this new found obsession with old production techniques a reflection of a dearth of creativity for these artists?

Interesting point! I'm under the impression that maybe the renewed interest in old production techniques is adopted to facilitate the creativity current musicians/producers admired in the groups that existed back when those were the new techniques. Unfortunately it's just a sound. You can be just as creative with the crystal-clear sound of this decade as you could have been 40 years ago. The opposite is also true where you can be just as uninspired whether you imitate the overall production of a classic 70s prog album or not. It really is just an aesthetic choice at the end of the day. The real determining factor in a work's artistic depth is and always should be the level of genuine creativity invested by the musicians themselves.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jude111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 21:05
Originally posted by rogerthat

The problem is some of the same people who ushered in studio perfection and used to rave about the power of synthesizers have turned their back on it and started grumbling about its results. e.g The Steely Dan duo, Steven Wilson.  When I was growing up, I would hear artists saying that with modern keyboards, you no longer needed an orchestra in a positive way.  Now, they want to go back to live instruments and mistakes.   There seems to be some confusion in music culture right now.  It's not mistakes or lack thereof that made the music great earlier, it was their creativity.  So is this new found obsession with old production techniques a reflection of a dearth of creativity for these artists?

Even Daft Punk did something similar with their newest album, by using live musicians. Other electronic artists expressed admiration for Daft Punk's move, and said they'd love to do the same thing, but it comes down to money. Daft Punk is the rare band that's able to forgo electronics and afford to bring in other musicians. Apparently it's not feasible to use live musicians these days?... 

The point Dean made about Hackett, how electronic instruments were often used to substitute orchestras that were too expensive, apparently this is still the case today, in perhaps subtly different ways... ?


Edited by jude111 - October 01 2013 at 21:14
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 21:36
Originally posted by rogerthat

The problem is some of the same people who ushered in studio perfection and used to rave about the power of synthesizers have turned their back on it and started grumbling about its results. e.g The Steely Dan duo, Steven Wilson.  When I was growing up, I would hear artists saying that with modern keyboards, you no longer needed an orchestra in a positive way.  Now, they want to go back to live instruments and mistakes.   There seems to be some confusion in music culture right now.  It's not mistakes or lack thereof that made the music great earlier, it was their creativity.  So is this new found obsession with old production techniques a reflection of a dearth of creativity for these artists?


Personally, I think there's an endearing charm to old-school studio flubs that are somewhat missing in this current era's digitized studio sterility. I fondly recall Ian Anderson mumbling, "Oh sh*t, sh*t, sh*t -- take two!" after a mistake during the complicated acoustic intro to "Baker St. Muse", or the infamous airplane rumbling overhead during the start of Led Zeppelin's "Black Country Woman", or even Humble Pie trying to get in tune singing an A Capella run through of "Thirty Days in the Hole". This is the sort of thing that sticks with you through the years. The live ambiance bands try to capture in the studio is probably reminiscent of the same feeling I get hearing those old albums.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 22:09
Originally posted by Neo-Romantic

Unfortunately it's just a sound. You can be just as creative with the crystal-clear sound of this decade as you could have been 40 years ago. The opposite is also true where you can be just as uninspired whether you imitate the overall production of a classic 70s prog album or not. It really is just an aesthetic choice at the end of the day. The real determining factor in a work's artistic depth is and always should be the level of genuine creativity invested by the musicians themselves.


That is exactly my point.  What made the great prog rock bands of the 70s great was much more than just the sound or the production techniques, which may have at the most enhanced their appeal a bit. If bands start talking about the need to go back to an old aesthetic choice, it makes me a bit suspicious.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 22:19
Originally posted by jude111

Originally posted by rogerthat

The problem is some of the same people who ushered in studio perfection and used to rave about the power of synthesizers have turned their back on it and started grumbling about its results. e.g The Steely Dan duo, Steven Wilson.  When I was growing up, I would hear artists saying that with modern keyboards, you no longer needed an orchestra in a positive way.  Now, they want to go back to live instruments and mistakes.   There seems to be some confusion in music culture right now.  It's not mistakes or lack thereof that made the music great earlier, it was their creativity.  So is this new found obsession with old production techniques a reflection of a dearth of creativity for these artists?

Even Daft Punk did something similar with their newest album, by using live musicians. Other electronic artists expressed admiration for Daft Punk's move, and said they'd love to do the same thing, but it comes down to money. Daft Punk is the rare band that's able to forgo electronics and afford to bring in other musicians. Apparently it's not feasible to use live musicians these days?... 

The point Dean made about Hackett, how electronic instruments were often used to substitute orchestras that were too expensive, apparently this is still the case today, in perhaps subtly different ways... ?

Yeah, for instance, my friend who has his own prog rock band, uses drum machines for the studio recording even though his band does have a drummer.  The reason for that is apparently he would need more mics to capture the sound of real drums faithfully.   Of course live the drum tracks are performed with real drums.   This band has no funding and most if not all of them have day jobs.   

Some people need to wake up to the reality of the music scene as it is today.   The days when Steely Dan could enlist what 40 musicians for Gaucho are gone; that is, it is unlikely that such expense would be spared for a jazz rock album (er, except for fellow baby boomers sponsoring Fagen or Becker's own solo efforts).  And best selling pop acts of today manage the album sales that Aja could at that time.   I think a more broad minded outlook would be to support artists who make the effort to record the music they believe in (rather than going pop to survive) rather than reject it as soulless or mechanical, etc.   I understand that people love the sound of live instruments and I do too.  But then, enough people need to pay for it to make it a viable business again.  And I have already questioned the rationale of equating aesthetics with creativity so I won't repeat that here.  


Edited by rogerthat - October 01 2013 at 22:25
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Post Options Post Options   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 23:17
The drugs changed.  Instead of sitting around, stoned off of our asses on weed in dark rooms, folks started to use more up-tempo chemicals like speed, MDA, coke etc.  

Disco, punk and other music is more conducive to dancing (if that's what you call it).  

If Video killed the radio star, then dancing killed off classic prog.  That simple.  It still had a few kicks left with Asia, Rush, etc. but for the most part, Mellotrons ceased to exist.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2013 at 01:15
Originally posted by Guldbamsen


What was I talking about again?LOL Suffice to say, you inspired me and thanks for that.

You're very welcome and thank you for the kind words Handshake

I like your point about "experimenting with oneself and the instrument you're playing, even if it is a computer".  I remember some music critics going ballistic about Dark Side of the Moon and that the synth/sequencer in "On the Run" was playing the band instead of the other way around...and if they thought that about Pink Floyd, they must have gone into fits of convulsion over Tangerine Dreams multi-sequencer approach.

I guess any new music making tool is burdened by opinions based on the skill of it's users.  If recording studio computers are primarily used to create lifeless, cut and paste shortcut, auto tuned to perfection, manufactured music, then that's the rep they will have to live with.  When more people come up with a revolutionary use for the studio computer, using it to create exciting new textures or unimagined musical structures, then the perception changes and we can move onto hating the next technical innovation LOL


Edited by The.Crimson.King - October 02 2013 at 01:16
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2013 at 10:16
Originally posted by cstack3

The drugs changed.  Instead of sitting around, stoned off of our asses on weed in dark rooms, folks started to use more up-tempo chemicals like speed, MDA, coke etc.  
Disco, punk and other music is more conducive to dancing (if that's what you call it).  
If Video killed the radio star, then dancing killed off classic prog.  That simple.  It still had a few kicks left with Asia, Rush, etc. but for the most part, Mellotrons ceased to exist.


Very interesting point actually. Yes. Their was a time where drugs/music were a very strong merriment with one another....well actually there still is!! I think this is a good point. Funny too. :)

The war on drugs....pitiful and a waste of money. :(
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2013 at 10:20
Originally posted by The.Crimson.King



Originally posted by Guldbamsen

What was I talking about again?LOL Suffice to say, you inspired me and thanks for that.


You're very welcome and thank you for the kind words Handshake
I like your point about "experimenting with oneself and the instrument you're playing, even if it is a computer".  I remember some music critics going ballistic about Dark Side of the Moon and that the synth/sequencer in "On the Run" was playing the band instead of the other way around...and if they thought that about Pink Floyd, they must have gone into fits of convulsion over Tangerine Dreams multi-sequencer approach.
I guess any new music making tool is burdened by opinions based on the skill of it's users.  If recording studio computers are primarily used to create lifeless, cut and paste shortcut, auto tuned to perfection, manufactured music, then that's the rep they will have to live with.  When more people come up with a revolutionary use for the studio computer, using it to create exciting new textures or unimagined musical structures, then the perception changes and we can move onto hating the next technical innovation LOL



Great point. I also could never see Alan Parsons as a kind of 'cut and paste' guy in the sound engineers booth. I read some of his BIO and that guy worked his freakin' ass off and their was a lot of pressure on him because he was exploring new technology, so it had to work. I still say DARKSIDE is well ahead of its time I. Large part to captain studio man...Mr. Parsons. :)
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