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Symphonic in the 00's, an advantage or a handicap?

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rogerthat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 09:25
If symph prog was actually used to club the more well known prog rock bands from the UK, it would indeed comprise of a very wide range of influences and present endless possibilities.   Subdividing into symph/heavy/eclectic/psychedelic already marks some narrow boundaries.   Even Renaissance were faintly pyschedelic on Rajah Khan so these barriers didn't really exist for those 70s bands and never have made much sense to me.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 10:10
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

It's hard to answer the question because the disadvantage you mention deals with a band's perception in the eyes of their audience, while the advantages deal with the ability to make quality music.  As far as audience perception goes, I think you have to say modern symph bands are both at an advantage and a disadvantage, because, while there are many prog fans who disdain modern symph because they view it as derivative, at the same time there are many fans who want to hear music inspired by Yes, Genesis, ELP, etc.
I was not concerned with those who disdain modern symph, my point was that within those who like modern symph, many will never award the same recognition to modern bands as they do to the classics, even if the music made by these modern bands is genuinely as "good" as that made by the classics (subjectivity is implied) simply because they are playing it now and not then.

 
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

The early symph bands, for the most part, weren't actively trying to create a new style.  They were just making the kind of music they wanted to make, influenced by the artists they listened to, which is the same thing the new symph bands are doing. 
Maybe not deliberately create a new style, but I am quite sure that they were aware that they were making something new, while the modern symph bands are surely aware that they are not, although the good ones of course still strive to be original to some extent and make their own vision of it. As mentioned bands like IQ, Echolyn or Neal Morse deserve that credit for me. The case of Moon Safari is still hard to judge for me, I have not heard their debut and Lovers End did not impress me so much, but Blomljud did.
 
Before anyone says, I know that IQ are tagged as Neo but to me they are close enough to symph, and anyway the precise genre was not the point, the point was just that modern prog bands making prog directly influenced by 70's prog have a hard time earning the same level of recognition as the pioneers, even if they make great music. 


Edited by Gerinski - December 03 2012 at 10:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 10:18
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

The problem I'm having is that the direction of the discussion in it's outward appearance is focused on genre as if that's the only kind of innovation that can be made. I don't know if it's intended that way. If someone ushers in a new genre, they deserve kudos (perhaps), but I'm also I interested in new timbres, new approaches to phrasing, new playing techniques, new scales, new arrangements, new approaches to rhythm, new math, new... Whether this is done in one genre or another (Symphonic Prog included) is something to be openminded about, I think.
Well the discussion was intended on the importance that many people seem to give to "genre innovation", when I fully agree with you that more minor innovation within one genre can be equally satisfying.
But as written in the previous post, I feel that some people (myself possibly unconsciously partly included) seem to put modern bands in a second tier not because of the quality of the music they make but simply because of the timing they happen to live in.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 10:18
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Maybe not deliberately create a new style, but I am quite sure that they were aware that they were making something new, while the modern symph bands are surely aware that they are not, although the good ones of course still strive to be original to some extent and make their own vision of it.


Right and therein is a simple rebuttal to the counterargument given to originality.   Rock genres, including prog and its sub genres, are still largely classified based on superficial characteristics.  Symph prog was characterised for the first time in the late 1960s.   There may have been music from different genres containing disparate elements also found in symph prog but it was in symph prog that the synthesis happened for the first time.   The moment you call a new band a symph prog band, they are indeed disadvantaged that way because the very characterisation is borne out of observing some similarity with the older bands.   Prog that uses chamber instruments but is atonal or dark is more likely to get slotted in Avant/RIO even though it's not such a bad idea to call it symph prog based only on the plain meaning of the word.   And the problem peculiar to symph prog is many of the tones date to the 70s and have fallen out of favour since then.  Whether justifiably or not is a different issue but it tends to bear less resemblance to contemporary music than some other prog genres for this reason.   With folk prog, the advantage is it at least draws from a timeless tradition so arguments that it sounds dated are less relevant but it is hard to find other contemporary music that does sound like symph prog which is not the case in crossover or prog metal.  In those genres, interaction and influence of contemporary music can be observed and that is why they are relatively 'new'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 10:54
Here, I am using the PA definition of symph prog like the OP, not synechdoche like I did in the "Why classic prog faded?" thread. Otherwise, it's not such a pigeon hole. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zumacraig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 11:09
new(ish) symphonic bands have a great opportunity this decade to finally bring back good production values to prog and once and for all leave the AOR, over-reverbed, gated drum sound in the past!  they also have a chance to spearhead a return to dynamic range from the compressed sh*t that's been coming out for the last 20 years.  there is absolutely no need to 'sound' bad these days.  digital instruments are at their peak in sounding exactly like the cumbersome analog instruments as is digital recording.  i'm not saying these new bands should sound retro....they just need to sound good and listenable and classic.  maybe even hit the charts again.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zumacraig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 13:07
Originally posted by Polymorphia Polymorphia wrote:

Symphonic prog has a pretty specific criteria. It pretty hard to write music organically, experiment with new ideas, and manage to ski ball it into the symph-prog hole. On the other hand, I don't fault an artist with sounding like another, if that's the music they truly want to be making. I just won't buy their albums.Wink

it should be called symphonic rock, as the ot was referring to in this thread's title.  rock music in the rock context using classical structures.  drop the prog.  it's such a divisiver term.  i'd also like to add that bands need to f'n write good songs and not just parts!  the thing about the old garde is that they had good songs/themes upon which symphonies/fugues were written.  steven wilson writes good, memorable melodies.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prog_Traveller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 14:51
Although I don't own any Moon Safari, I have seen them twice. They are good but are sort of an aquired taste for me because of the vocals. I don't hate them but I find it hard to get into them sometimes. Weird for me to say this since they played at Rosfest because of my recommendation. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 16:15
Originally posted by progbethyname progbethyname wrote:

First of all Symphonic Prog is not a thing of the past. It's only been tweaked and re-honed into the hands of a new artist. In other words, it's just evolution of the genre itself.

As far as technology is concerned that is an advantage because it offers new variety of sound when it comes to the recording and writing process of music, which can ultimately make the artist sound quite different but still adhere to the standards of the genre itself, which doesn't make much room for being original and unique as a new up and coming artist.

Above all, I think it is frusterating sometimes for bands to truly make their mark for originality and innovation with in the symphonic prog genre. For instance, let's look at a band like IQ. They are a band that is labeled to be Neo prog, which is a term that is incredibly hated by a lot of musicians in the symphonic prog genre including the great Martin Orford. Personally, I don't blame Orford because Neo prog implies lack of orginality for a genre itself. It implies new prog only deriving from the symphonic prog movement started by Genesis. To be more clear, it's like calling IQ the new Genesis.
To me, that is unfair and not true because I feel IQ sound absolutely nothing like genesis. Now in the 90's we have symphony X accused of being dream theater hacks. Don't agree with that either.
I think overall it's a very tough situation to completely sound orginal and fresh today because everyone is always gonna say well that band sounds like this other band and so forth.
It's a bit complicated because it's tough to go beyond the basics of what the genre is itself.


Interesting views and I like the use of 'great' to describe Martin Orford. I sort of agree in as much as The Old Road is almost as good as FrequencyWink
 
I like modern symph prog in the form of Glass Hammer and Par Lindh Project. Both bands have taken a few chances and have made modern symph classics although quite obviously they understand their genre extremely well. I once ordered a CD from Par Lindh on a recommendation from the ELP magazine Impressions and Par Lindh put a PS 'Long Live ELP!' on the bottom of the letter that came with the CD. Fred Schendel can ably demonstrate his 'Tony sound' , his 'Rick sound' and his 'Keith sound' and of course we don't need the second names to know who he is talking about!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 17:48
Originally posted by Prog_Traveller Prog_Traveller wrote:

Although I don't own any Moon Safari, I have seen them twice. They are good but are sort of an aquired taste for me because of the vocals. I don't hate them but I find it hard to get into them sometimes. Weird for me to say this since they played at Rosfest because of my recommendation. Smile
For me a white glove test comes with live playing, I have not seen Moon Safari playing live except for a couple of videos in YouTube where I did not feel that they are as proficient as the old greats, that's why I keep some reservations about them, The compositions, arrangements and playing in Blomljud in studio impressed me but modern studio recording is deceptive of the underlaying real quality of the musicians, and I'm not yet convinced that they are at a level comparable with the great 70's symph bands in terms of live playing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prog_Traveller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 22:21
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Originally posted by Prog_Traveller Prog_Traveller wrote:

Although I don't own any Moon Safari, I have seen them twice. They are good but are sort of an aquired taste for me because of the vocals. I don't hate them but I find it hard to get into them sometimes. Weird for me to say this since they played at Rosfest because of my recommendation. Smile
For me a white glove test comes with live playing, I have not seen Moon Safari playing live except for a couple of videos in YouTube where I did not feel that they are as proficient as the old greats, that's why I keep some reservations about them, The compositions, arrangements and playing in Blomljud in studio impressed me but modern studio recording is deceptive of the underlaying real quality of the musicians, and I'm not yet convinced that they are at a level comparable with the great 70's symph bands in terms of live playing.



NOt on the level of the seventies greats live? Well to be honest how many bands are? Most of the bands from back then that are still together(ie Yes and whoever else)aren't even what they used to be live. Maybe Rush is but that's about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 07:32
I think the problem here is that many of the modern band that play in the Symph genre are content to emulate the classic bands, it's a style they have a particular affinity with and so it's the style they play in. As such inovation is in short supply, whether it's the retro sounding bands like Anglagard and Wobbler or those that use modern production techniques like Moon Safari, The Flower Kings and Spocks Bear/ Neal Morse. It's not impossible for a band to sound unique within this genre, White Willow have only a few nods to classic bands in their sound despite being recognisably Symph, but it's not that easy and I think in many cases bands actively, or at least subconciously, chose not to.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 07:32
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by progbethyname progbethyname wrote:

First of all Symphonic Prog is not a thing of the past. It's only been tweaked and re-honed into the hands of a new artist. In other words, it's just evolution of the genre itself.

As far as technology is concerned that is an advantage because it offers new variety of sound when it comes to the recording and writing process of music, which can ultimately make the artist sound quite different but still adhere to the standards of the genre itself, which doesn't make much room for being original and unique as a new up and coming artist.
....
... 
I like modern symph prog in the form of Glass Hammer and Par Lindh Project. Both bands have taken a few chances and have made modern symph classics although quite obviously they understand their genre extremely well
 
The harder part of the whole equation, when looked at the history of the whole thing, is that the majority of folks do not always know, or understand a bit of it ... it's not the same thing as just mentioning it.
 
50 years ago, the only way to get a nice orchestra sound, was expensive, and difficult to record. The advent of the keyboard instruments improvement helped many bands come off really well ... and they DID ... today, this is not an issue and you can add the sound of a favorite orchestra from a piece of software ... and some keyboard folks even flaunt the use of their iPad!
 
It makes for a "sound" that was not there 40 or 50 years ago ... that ELP, and other bands wanted to change some and work with!
 
In many ways, comparing the two is kinda silly ... it distorts history ... and the fact that in those days ... we didn't have it! Thus, seeing the newer bands doing different things, and adding new things that we did not have, or could imagine before ... and that is ... like you say ... the volution of the genre ...


Edited by moshkito - December 04 2012 at 07:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote infandous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 10:57
Evolution of instruments and electronics was indeed a large part of what made the 70's prog bands seem so innovative.  A lot of them started out emulating their favorites (so many 70's prog bands have Beatles influences on early records, if not their whole career, as just one example), but because it was possible to have their band as a full time job, they were able to improve their art and focus on creativity.  How many prog bands play 250+ shows a year these days?  How many have the band as their only source of income?  Sadly, I think most bands these days do what they can with the time they have for their "true love", and that often means playing what they enjoy.  I guess what I'm saying is that innovation is more of a challenge now than it was then, because rock is not a relatively new thing as it was back then, new technology nowadays seems focused on recreating existing sounds and not so much creating new ones, and musicians have to spread out their creativity and skills and can't just focus on one thing to make ends meet.

Still, I think symphonic prog does have a few bands that are "progressing" the genre these days.  Of course, others have found their formula and stick to it because people like it and buy it (though it could easily be said that rock bands as a rule do this all the time.......especially bands that were around in the 70's).  Personally I think there is still ground to be explored in symphonic rock (or prog or whatever), just as there are in other music genres.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Quiet One Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 11:07
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

When writing my recent review of Moon Safariís Blomljud I reflected that comparing a modern band who makes a certain style which descends directly from music already done in the 70ís (symphonic in this case but the argument would apply to other sub-genres as well) is necessarily unfair.

 

The 70ís pioneers will always have the advantage of being considered as original and innovative, they created the genre after all. Modern symphonic can of course retain a certain level of originality but unless it goes very far from traditional symphonic (which probably some people would no longer consider symphonic) it will necessarily be derivative to certain extent and will sound familiar in the structures, the sounds used or whatever. It would seem that modern bands doing symphonic will always be in disadvantage even if they make music intrinsically as good as your favourite 70's stuff. Itís doubtful if any modern symphonic band can ever achieve the same timeless status as Yes, Genesis or ELP.

 

On the other hand, modern bands have 40 years of music to get inspiration from, plus all the new technology, and this might be considered as an advantage for making their music compared to the pioneers who had to come up with their music from pure inspiration, with very little existing music to base themselves on and limited technology.

 

For a band trying to make symphonic in the 00ís / 10ís, is it an advantage or an unavoidable curse?


To the question, I believe it depends totally on the musicians and what the musicians want to do and what they listen to.

Roine Stolt, for example, is a big Zappa fan, and although you really can't hear much of that with The Flower Kings, the album Unfold the Future is a way more adventurous symphonic album with jazzy and experimental bits, that for me is totally great. Not saying it's something "new", but it takes the modern approach of symphonic a step ahead in comparison with the other albums that are pretty much "symphonic prog pieces" with an already defined structure, time changes, interludes, etc.

Keith Emerson said something like this, when asked about Rachel Flowers who plays his stuff perfectly well: Do not listen to me, listen to the guys I listened to (talking about classical music). (btw, it wasn't a critic to her)

I think that's the main difference, Prog bands in the 70s did have influences, of course, but they took it from the big names of classical or even from more avant-garde guys. From there they made what they did, they took ideas and reelaborated it into rock form.
Today's symphonic bands, mostly, seem to just listen to the 70s symphonic trend and since they love it, they want to do something alike, but they don't "understand" the process these 70s guys did. If they listened to other stuff, or better, if they listened to the classical guys or whoever came before the 70s, you could possibly hear a more interesting composition.

I'm generalising a bit, I know.Wink


Edited by The Quiet One - December 04 2012 at 11:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 11:43
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

Originally posted by progbethyname progbethyname wrote:

First of all Symphonic Prog is not a thing of the past. It's only been tweaked and re-honed into the hands of a new artist. In other words, it's just evolution of the genre itself. As far as technology is concerned that is an advantage because it offers new variety of sound when it comes to the recording and writing process of music, which can ultimately make the artist sound quite different but still adhere to the standards of the genre itself, which doesn't make much room for being original and unique as a new up and coming artist. Above all, I think it is frusterating sometimes for bands to truly make their mark for originality and innovation with in the symphonic prog genre. For instance, let's look at a band like IQ. They are a band that is labeled to be Neo prog, which is a term that is incredibly hated by a lot of musicians in the symphonic prog genre including the great Martin Orford. Personally, I don't blame Orford because Neo prog implies lack of orginality for a genre itself. It implies new prog only deriving from the symphonic prog movement started by Genesis. To be more clear, it's like calling IQ the new Genesis. To me, that is unfair and not true because I feel IQ sound absolutely nothing like genesis. Now in the 90's we have symphony X accused of being dream theater hacks. Don't agree with that either. I think overall it's a very tough situation to completely sound orginal and fresh today because everyone is always gonna say well that band sounds like this other band and so forth. It's a bit complicated because it's tough to go beyond the basics of what the genre is itself.


Interesting views and I like the use of 'great' to describe Martin Orford. I sort of agree in as much as The Old Road is almost as good as FrequencyWink

I like modern symph prog in the form of Glass Hammer and Par Lindh Project. Both bands have taken a few chances and have made modern symph classics although quite obviously they understand their genre extremely well. I once ordered a CD from Par Lindh on a recommendation from the ELP magazine Impressions and Par Lindh put a PS 'Long Live ELP!' on the bottom of the letter that came with the CD. Fred Schendel can ably demonstrate his 'Tony sound' , his 'Rick sound' and his 'Keith sound' and of course we don't need the second names†to know†who he is talking about!

Understand the genre but have some fun with it.


Well said. I think you just have to play around with the genre itself as you said. The foundation will always be in place meaning the symphonic genre itself and what you have to do as an artist is to tinker with it to get some sort of new, innovative and exciting brand of music. I feel IQ have gone above and beyond in that respect. :)
Threshold still have all the goods that makes them one of the best classic rock/Prog metal bands in the world. 2014's For The Journey is worth a serious listen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 20:05
Originally posted by infandous infandous wrote:

Evolution of instruments and electronics was indeed a large part of what made the 70's prog bands seem so innovative.† A lot of them started out emulating their favorites (so many 70's prog bands have Beatles influences on early records, if not their whole career, as just one example), but because it was possible to have their band as a full time job, they were able to improve their art and focus on creativity.† How many prog bands play 250+ shows a year these days?† How many have the band as their only source of income?† Sadly, I think most bands these days do what they can with the time they have for their "true love", and that often means playing what they enjoy.† I guess what I'm saying is that innovation is more of a challenge now than it was then, because rock is not a relatively new thing as it was back then, new technology nowadays seems focused on recreating existing sounds and not so much creating new ones, and musicians have to spread out their creativity and skills and can't just focus on one thing to make ends meet.Still, I think symphonic prog does have a few bands that are "progressing" the genre these days.† Of course, others have found their formula and stick to it because people like it and buy it (though it could easily be said that rock bands as a rule do this all the time.......especially bands that were around in the 70's).† Personally I think there is still ground to be explored in symphonic rock (or prog or whatever), just as there are in other music genres.



Great point and don't forget about the gouching record companies that stick their hands down artists shirts and twist their nipples till their purple with pain.
Threshold still have all the goods that makes them one of the best classic rock/Prog metal bands in the world. 2014's For The Journey is worth a serious listen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The-time-is-now Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 05:01
Very interesting and complex question.

The fact that some people here have a reflective point of vue shows that to 'make' symphonic prog in the 00s/10s is not obligatorily a curse.

And IMO, Blomljud is an excellent example of underrated album, surely partly because of this 'curse'.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 08:10
Originally posted by infandous infandous wrote:

Evolution of instruments and electronics was indeed a large part of what made the 70's prog bands seem so innovative.  ....
...
 How many prog bands play 250+ shows a year these days?  How many have the band as their only source of income? 
...
 
Perfect example.
 
We did not have the Internet then, either ... or computers, for that matter! I think UCSB had its first computer course in 1977 or 1978, btw.
 
In those days, you hit the road to get known, if you did not have radio.
 
Today, you hit the Internet ... you do not have to hit the road!
 
Which, in my estimation is another issue ... the bands, then, were better rehearsed and played ... because they had to go out and show it ... today ... you really don't have to if you don't want to and you can stick to the store room, or studio.
 
It was a VERY different time ... and when comparing these things, you pretty much have to take a "quotidian" attitude, or the discussion becomes superfluous and silly. It's like saying today that a gun is better than the sword, and 1000 years ago they would say ... what's a gun? Your argument becomes ... silly!
 
Between you and I, to my ears, the main reason why so much metal is not "better" or more "progressive" is very simple ... not enough rehearsal and dedication to make it more than just loud guitar ... as an example, we had a neighbor band that was pretty good and quite progressive, but the lead guitarist did not want the "progressive" sound .. he wanted the loud guitar sound ... and this is the same thing that appears in Dream Theater at times ... and the "wholesome" and "completeness" of the band's work, suffers in my book. They can be better, but the folks involved do not always have a great musical sense, beyond the "star" thing ... they want to be heard more for the loudness than they do for their music! 


Edited by moshkito - December 05 2012 at 08:18
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote infandous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 08:12
Originally posted by The Quiet One The Quiet One wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

When writing my recent review of Moon Safariís Blomljud I reflected that comparing a modern band who makes a certain style which descends directly from music already done in the 70ís (symphonic in this case but the argument would apply to other sub-genres as well) is necessarily unfair.

 

The 70ís pioneers will always have the advantage of being considered as original and innovative, they created the genre after all. Modern symphonic can of course retain a certain level of originality but unless it goes very far from traditional symphonic (which probably some people would no longer consider symphonic) it will necessarily be derivative to certain extent and will sound familiar in the structures, the sounds used or whatever. It would seem that modern bands doing symphonic will always be in disadvantage even if they make music intrinsically as good as your favourite 70's stuff. Itís doubtful if any modern symphonic band can ever achieve the same timeless status as Yes, Genesis or ELP.

 

On the other hand, modern bands have 40 years of music to get inspiration from, plus all the new technology, and this might be considered as an advantage for making their music compared to the pioneers who had to come up with their music from pure inspiration, with very little existing music to base themselves on and limited technology.

 

For a band trying to make symphonic in the 00ís / 10ís, is it an advantage or an unavoidable curse?


To the question, I believe it depends totally on the musicians and what the musicians want to do and what they listen to.

Roine Stolt, for example, is a big Zappa fan, and although you really can't hear much of that with The Flower Kings, the album Unfold the Future is a way more adventurous symphonic album with jazzy and experimental bits, that for me is totally great. Not saying it's something "new", but it takes the modern approach of symphonic a step ahead in comparison with the other albums that are pretty much "symphonic prog pieces" with an already defined structure, time changes, interludes, etc.

Keith Emerson said something like this, when asked about Rachel Flowers who plays his stuff perfectly well: Do not listen to me, listen to the guys I listened to (talking about classical music). (btw, it wasn't a critic to her)

I think that's the main difference, Prog bands in the 70s did have influences, of course, but they took it from the big names of classical or even from more avant-garde guys. From there they made what they did, they took ideas and reelaborated it into rock form.
Today's symphonic bands, mostly, seem to just listen to the 70s symphonic trend and since they love it, they want to do something alike, but they don't "understand" the process these 70s guys did. If they listened to other stuff, or better, if they listened to the classical guys or whoever came before the 70s, you could possibly hear a more interesting composition.

I'm generalising a bit, I know.Wink



Well, I heard the Zappa influence right away the first time I listened to the Flower Kings (Retropolis album).  However, I still agree with the rest of what you say here.
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