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Comparing prog from different countries

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aldri7 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Comparing prog from different countries
    Posted: January 15 2013 at 23:38
As a newbie, I have the luxury of being able to start any topic I want while being blissfully ignorant of any prior discussion on the matter...

And so I want to know - how much relationship is there between a country's prog and their own classical and folk music traditions (I'm thinking mostly of Europe here, so I'm leaving out jazz/ blues and the US)? And if you like one, do you find that you usually like the other? That assumes that there is a strong relationship, but it seems that relationships varies a lot depending on the country. Musicians from some countries are quite open to outside influences (scandinavian countries, for example) and, perhaps without strong traditions of their own, are relatively free to experiment, mix and match, etc. The result is often exciting music. Other countries, like Austria, have very strong classical music traditions and I don't even know if they have any prog bands at all!  I mean, that seems to be the conservative extreme there.

German and Italian prog bands write music that to me reflects their country's  classical and folk traditions. But the French don't seem to, at least not that I've heard. I'd be interested to know if I am wrong, because I love French classical music but not their prog. In most cases, however, if I like one, I like the other.

And then there is the UK. :) The grand masters of prog don't have the classical tradition to draw upon compared to countries on the continent. But they absorbed everything over the eons and have a harmonic sensibility that possibly they got from the French??? Is that why I love French classical music and UK prog??  

Maybe this is why French prog never developed along the same lines out of fear that others would accuse it of sounding like the UK.. :)

aldri7





Edited by aldri7 - January 16 2013 at 00:40
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Post Options Post Options   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 08:29
I always had the feeling English prog developed gradually out of the boundaries seeking pop, psych and rock acts of the sixties. In contrast, German krautrock sound more like they never heard music before. Italian musicians are often classically trained, which brings in the main ingredient for RPI. Dutch prog has never been very been on the frontiers, but bands like Focus, Finch and Trace show Holland has a lot of high skilled musicians.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 08:32
Originally posted by aldri7

As a newbie, I have the luxury of being able to start any topic I want while being blissfully ignorant of any prior discussion on the matter...





Not quite true. That is why we have a search facility.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sumdeus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 08:33
I think the key with krautrock was that while British bands were trying to make really complex and interesting rock music, the Germans were trying to make something completely their own and were going out of their way to not sound like rock'n'roll and to not sound like anything really
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 08:37
I really don't know a lot about European musical traditions, but I can definitely hear a certain something that really attracts me to Scandinavian and German progressive bands, even if I don't necessarily know what IT is.  I'm less attracted to, just for instance, French bands in general (notwithstanding Magma, my favorite band).

Edited by HolyMoly - January 16 2013 at 08:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote awaken77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 09:29
Originally posted by aldri7

And so I want to know - how much relationship is there between a country's prog and their own classical and folk music traditions

There is!
Anglagard, Anektoten, Kaipa, Sinkadus, The Flower Kings, Samla 
there is something common in harmony of Swedish prog bands, even if music is different.
It could be come from folk influence

also, Italian prog is somewhat special


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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 10:59
Snowdog,  yes I did try searching on this but without keywords that would really stand out, I didn't get very far..

A point I'll make here -

One might expect that there might be a similarity in how German and Scandinavian prog sounds. I base this on the fact that they share a lot of cultural heritage, ethnic ties etc. But they don't sound anything alike. Sumdeus mentioned that the Germans with Krautrock were consciously trying to develop a style they could call their own, something that no one could accuse of sounding like the Brits or anyone else. I have always felt that that is true also. While on the other hand, the Scandinavians don't seem to have this issue. They borrow liberally from the UK and US while adding to their own traditions. I have always had an extremely high regard for the Scandinavians (Terje Rypdal was enormous  with me) because of how accepting they are of dissonances and complexity in their prog and jazz, something that really sets them apart from the Germans. So overall Krautrock and Scandinavian (OK, Swedish I'm thinking mostly) prog represent opposite poles from the standpoint of simplicity vs complexity. With Krautrock you get a stripped down prog and its noteworthy to me that the Germans have gone down this path before, rejecting atonal Viennese classical music for example a hundred years ago in favor of a more direct and simple music more popular with the masses. It is tempting to suggest that the Germans may have never felt totally comfortable with trends towards increasing harmonic complexity in music, owing to the possibility that it threatened to some extent their own heritage (Bach, Hayden, Handel, Beethoven, Wagner etc).  Also, a lot of the characteristics of Krautrock (repetitive motifs etc) can be found in German progressive electronic music (tangerine dream, etc) also.

And i guess I also wasn't aware that "Kraut" and "Krautrock" are terms that arose first in Britain and are somewhat derogatory in origin. The term "kraut" was first used around the time of WWI. The German's don't use that term to describe themselves, and so I wonder if they have another term for their own music and did they eventually accept "Krautrock" or do they see this as a put down. I would think it would not still get used if there were too many complaints :)

And as for the French. The poor French.:)  I always felt that maybe they were caught flat footed when the whole rock thing evolved in the 60's. It was all coming from the UK across the channel, and with their natural inclination to not want to be seen as copying anything the Brits do, they were left to flounder which they did. And so while Germany evolved their own prog school with a fairly coherent style, Zeuhl music is a hodgepodge - bizarre, jazzy, atonal, furious at times, but often sounding not much more like someone is just angry about having been left in the dust by the Americans and Brits when they have such a glorious musical heritage of their own (which curiously they don't tap into).  And listed among the French Zeuhl bands are a fair number of Japanese ones - why does this all sound sort of anarchic and slightly cheesy to me while the Scandinavians made really impressive use of jazz influences? I hope I don't insult any fans of french prog, but I guess I still don't quite get it..(OK, I like magma and also find Eider Stellaire and Potemkine to be quite good). But my overall impression of the French is that maybe at no time was there a single individual or band with the right vision and respect for their history to guide them in a unique direction suitable to French culture as a whole. Zeuhl feels like subversive, jazzy music from the underground with quirky atonal qualities having artistic pretentions. Magma founder Christian Vender drew inspiration from Coltraine and was the son of a jazz musician. That Magma went on to lead future generations of French proggers rather than a band more grounded in french culture and history is something I feel is unfortunate...


aldri7


Edited by aldri7 - January 16 2013 at 13:24
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 11:02
Originally posted by aldri7

Snowdog,  yes I did try searching on this but without keywords that would really stand out, I didn't get very far..



Well I don't think we had a topic like this. That wasn't my point. No worries.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Marty219 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 11:53
The Macedonian band Leb i sol used to be really connected to their ethnic roots. Next to incorporating a lot of Macedonian and Balkan melodies and rhythms (use of exotic scales like the double harmonic minor and odd meters such as 7/8 and 11/8), they did some jazzy/proggy arrangements of Macedonian folk songs.

Few examples:

Devetka - based on the Macedonian folk song "So maki sum se rodila"
Aber dojde donke - based on the folk song with the same name
Bistra voda - based on a folk song with a similar title, "Da sum bistra voda"

I hope I don't offend other people from the Balkans by claiming these songs are Macedonian, I could be wrong as they could be Bulgarian or Serbian.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 12:02
Something else to consider  -

The quirky, slightly irritating, classic "prog" vocal style (Peter Gabriel, ian anderson, Roger Chapman, Cyrus)
is distinctly British (or British Isles) and did this arise from a folk tradition? In any case, I sense that in other countries, this style was not that well accepted. US bands often adapted well to it and copied it, but on the continent, especially in Germany and Italy perhaps, fans never really dug it and prog vocalists in those countries didn't feel any compulsion to imitate that style. Might they actually have had a derogatory attitude towards classic UK prog vocalists?

And so how/why did that vocal style arise and gain acceptance in the UK but not on the continent? A folk tradition? (seems likely as the themes often explored by those bands are mystical and folk related (fairies, elves, gnomes, enchanted forests, etc)

aldri7


Edited by aldri7 - January 16 2013 at 12:16
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 13:45
Sorry, but I don't find the vocal style "irritating", and, also, it was English, not British. There is a difference.

Further, those bands were huge on the continent, in the case of Genesis before they were in Britain.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 13:52
Chappo's style is not that different from Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (a lot of vibrato) . RPI is I think influenced more by the American country and the French chansonniers than by the Italian folk. 
About French prog, Zeuhl apart, you can find some good psych/space and symphonic prog, and with French vocals but from Canada there's an absolute masterpiece like this


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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 14:03
Originally posted by lazland

Sorry, but I don't find the vocal style "irritating", and, also, it was English, not British. There is a difference.

Further, those bands were huge on the continent, in the case of Genesis before they were in Britain.

I don't find it irritating either, but I did at first.....it was an acquired taste for me...

thanks for correcting me on the Englsh vs British..

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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 14:06
Originally posted by aldri7

Originally posted by lazland

Sorry, but I don't find the vocal style "irritating", and, also, it was English, not British. There is a difference.

Further, those bands were huge on the continent, in the case of Genesis before they were in Britain.

I don't find it irritating either, but I did at first.....it was an acquired taste for me...

thanks for correcting me on the Englsh vs British..

aldri7

It wasn't a correction, but an observation, but you are very welcome, my dear chapBig smile


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Post Options Post Options   Quote lucas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 14:26
Regarding my birth country :

Poland was so fascinated by Marillion and Fish that a host of neo-prog bands arose in the eighties and early nineties.

In the late sixties, however, some artists like Marek Grechuta and Czeslaw Niemen popularized  the knowledge of polish poets (Tuwim, Norwid...) over the country by singing their poems. 

Regarding France :
Besides Zeuhl (which has very few bands under its umbrella), France has a long history with celtic folk and traditional music (Dan Ar Braz, Malicorne, Alan Stivell, Pierre Bensusan and more recently Seven Reizh).

In Romania, Phoenix played folk music because the communist regimen prevented them from playing "western" rock music. So, they incorporated romanian folk elements in their music in order to be allowed to record during the times of Ceausescu's communism.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 14:43
Originally posted by aldri7

Something else to consider  -

The quirky, slightly irritating, classic "prog" vocal style (Peter Gabriel, ian anderson, Roger Chapman, Cyrus)
is distinctly British (or British Isles) and did this arise from a folk tradition? In any case, I sense that in other countries, this style was not that well accepted. US bands often adapted well to it and copied it, but on the continent, especially in Germany and Italy perhaps, fans never really dug it and prog vocalists in those countries didn't feel any compulsion to imitate that style. Might they actually have had a derogatory attitude towards classic UK prog vocalists?

And so how/why did that vocal style arise and gain acceptance in the UK but not on the continent? A folk tradition? (seems likely as the themes often explored by those bands are mystical and folk related (fairies, elves, gnomes, enchanted forests, etc)

aldri7
I like your earlier post a lot but this one is strange as those vocalists are hardly that alike. Always thought Roger Chapman overdid the vibrato while Ian Anderson and Peter Gabriel were just themselves.
The Brit prog bands didn't get much initial exposure on radio so they developed a highly theatrical approach to help project what they were doing and gain attention I think. I gather the early reviews of Genesis were not always that favourable so I'm not sure they achieved this universal acceptance that you imagine. The first time that any of their albums charted anywhere was in fact Italy and not Britain so I don't there could have been that much resistance from that country to the vocal style.
BTW I always assumed the quintessential British/English prog vocalist to be Greg Lake anyway.
 


Edited by richardh - January 16 2013 at 14:45
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Post Options Post Options   Quote zeqexes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 15:39
Bands like Nightwish and Opeth (from Scandinavia) have included folk elements in their music
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sumdeus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 17:03
Not sure how Opeth have folk elements unless I missed the memo where using an acoustic guitar anywhere in your music constitutes as a folk influence now...


Edited by Sumdeus - January 16 2013 at 17:03
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Post Options Post Options   Quote zeqexes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 17:09
Mikael Akerfeldt himself said that Nepenthe from Heritage was derived from Swedish folk music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dellinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 16 2013 at 17:37
I don't know much of italian music, but the RPI that I have listened to gives me the impression that they have a very Italian sound, much of what I would expect more traditional italian music to sound like, specially Banco.
As for Mexico, from where I am, the very few prog albums that I have heard have just about nothing of more traditional mexican music (which is perfectly fine for me, for I don't really like it so much, though it might be interesting to hear some band doing a nice fusion of Mariachi and Prog). Well, I guess Carlos Santana does have a very stron Latin flavour to his music, and he's considered here as having some prog elements, but in the end I don't know much from him either.
From other Latin American bands that I have heard, "Los Jaivas" from Chile do have many influences from traditional music, I guess from their country, and there must be some other bands that take traditional music into their prog. I think it must be the same with many spanish bands, the one I know is "Triana" and they have many Flamenco sounds in their music.
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