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Warthur View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: stop the "Neo" prog label ?
    Posted: January 17 2013 at 06:17
Originally posted by lucas

As you may know, Martin Orford of IQ is very unhappy of the tag allocated to the music he plays with IQ or Jadis, and in general to the prog rock scene that arose in the early eighties. He would prefer his music to be labeled "New Wave of Progressive Rock" as he feels offended when the press qualified the bands of the late nineties as "genuine" progressive rock (beacause of the use of vintage keyboards) as opposed to the "neo" progressive rock scene (due to the use of modern keyboards or electronic drums).
As much as I respect Martin's work in IQ and Jadis, I can't agree with a lot of stuff he says about the music scene and in particular with this interpretation of things.

First off, Martin could probably take some comfort to the fact that the very same "real prog" bands who made a big deal out of using vintage equipment in the mid-1990s have given rise to a whole new term - retro-prog - which is arguably far more disparaging than "neo-prog" ever was (though I have seen people use "neo" in a disparaging way from time to time). After all, "neo" at least implies novelty, innovation, adding something to the prog tradition of the past and advancing it, whilst "retro" implicitly implies a lack of originality. (Of course, I should stress that I think there's a place for both styles out there.)

The second point is that New Wave of Progressive Rock and neo-prog both imply the same thing: a combination of older progressive rock traditions with newer approaches, and specifically the incorporation of the new sounds offered by new keyboards and electronic drums into prog frameworks. It's clear that by using that term Martin agrees that there is a distinct difference between the "waves" - otherwise why call it "a new wave" at all? - so I question the utility of a rebranding. After all, people are just as likely to use "new wave of prog" sneeringly as they are "neo-prog".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 06:28
Originally posted by infocat

When did he write this?  It appears to me have been while he was still in IQ.
Oh yeah, that article is at least 6 years old, maybe older.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 06:52
Dean's point is the most pertinent here. It was not labelled neo prog at the time, just prog. The neo label came quite a bit later. The defence for the abolition of silly labels is close to closing its case, m'lud.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 06:54
I for one think it really helps to picture the music when a band is tagged neo-prog. In fact, the music is more melody-driven, drums are more prominent, song format is simpler (coloser to pop or synth-pop music).
And i agree about the "retro" tag specified above (although I think it is a quite recent tag - I was not acquainted with it in the late nineties) to separate the current bands with a 70's sound from the bands with characteristics similar to the 80's wave of prog rock ("neo" even if they started in then ineties or more recently).

I think Martin Orford misinterpreted the use of the "neo" label, it was clearly not intended to minimize the quality of the music produced, instead since new subdivisions were burgeoning in the progressive rock realm, rather see more clearly in the forest of subcategories.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:05
Originally posted by lucas

I for one think it really helps to picture the music when a band is tagged neo-prog. In fact, the music is more melody-driven, drums are more prominent, song format is simpler (coloser to pop or synth-pop music).
And i agree about the "retro" tag specified above (although I think it is a quite recent tag - I was not acquainted with it in the late nineties) to separate the current bands with a 70's sound from the bands with characteristics similar to the 80's wave of prog rock ("neo" even if they started in then ineties or more recently).

I think Martin Orford misinterpreted the use of the "neo" label, it was clearly not intended to minimize the quality of the music produced, instead since new subdivisions were burgeoning in the progressive rock realm, rather see more clearly in the forest of subcategories.

Martin Orford is a very intelligent, thoughtful man. He did not misinterpret the neo label at all. He knew full well what he was talking about, and it is the case that more than a few artists have felt that the neo label rather dragged them down, and I speak here as a huge fan of the music.

Marillion these days would concede the progressive rock tag to their output, but neo? Never in a million years.

The irony of all this is that IQ are probably the only act from that time to whom the neo label could be properly applied in their modern output, because you could not for the rest of them. Pendragon, for example, have not issued a neo album for quite some time, ditto Pallas (I could go on).


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:11
^
Maybe It Bites (and Landmarq, but they started in the nineties, so maybe they don't count) stay true to the spirit of neo-prog...
"Magma was the very first gothic rock band" (Didier Lockwood)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:18
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother

I honestly wish some bands would stop looking at the term `Neo Prog' as being something negative, that it somehow belittles them and makes them less worthy.

I certainly never considered Pendragon, IQ, Marillion, Jadis etc to be `fake 80's prog', rather `new prog in the grand tradtion of the establishing 70's bands', that takes elements from those bands and gives them a modern makeover, as they incorporate those elements into their own original and distinctive ideas.

I think some people use the term `Neo' in a derogative and dismissive way, as in `Neo means rip-off/clones of better bands'. While some of the Neo bands have similarities to the golden age bands, I've always found they had more than enough unique personalities, arrangements and genre-pushing ideas to stand on their own, and there's endless Neo bands I love very each.

I also find the tag an easy way to suggest these bands to a new listener, in that `If you like early 70's Genesis, you might enjoy what X band is doing' etc.

Have to say, I don't think IQ/Orford/Nicholls helped their case by essentially REMAKING `Suppers Ready' on `Dark Matter', as much as I dearly love that album!
Harvest of Souls is as much like Supper's Ready as I am like Cameron Diaz.
 
And the same (almost) goes for Grendel.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:22
Originally posted by Warthur

Originally posted by lucas

As you may know, Martin Orford of IQ is very unhappy of the tag allocated to the music he plays with IQ or Jadis, and in general to the prog rock scene that arose in the early eighties. He would prefer his music to be labeled "New Wave of Progressive Rock" as he feels offended when the press qualified the bands of the late nineties as "genuine" progressive rock (beacause of the use of vintage keyboards) as opposed to the "neo" progressive rock scene (due to the use of modern keyboards or electronic drums).
As much as I respect Martin's work in IQ and Jadis, I can't agree with a lot of stuff he says about the music scene and in particular with this interpretation of things.

First off, Martin could probably take some comfort to the fact that the very same "real prog" bands who made a big deal out of using vintage equipment in the mid-1990s have given rise to a whole new term - retro-prog - which is arguably far more disparaging than "neo-prog" ever was (though I have seen people use "neo" in a disparaging way from time to time). After all, "neo" at least implies novelty, innovation, adding something to the prog tradition of the past and advancing it, whilst "retro" implicitly implies a lack of originality. (Of course, I should stress that I think there's a place for both styles out there.)

The second point is that New Wave of Progressive Rock and neo-prog both imply the same thing: a combination of older progressive rock traditions with newer approaches, and specifically the incorporation of the new sounds offered by new keyboards and electronic drums into prog frameworks. It's clear that by using that term Martin agrees that there is a distinct difference between the "waves" - otherwise why call it "a new wave" at all? - so I question the utility of a rebranding. After all, people are just as likely to use "new wave of prog" sneeringly as they are "neo-prog".
 
And Martin is (as usual) completely correct. They are symphonic prog bands and many are damned good. I could understand the term neo in the eighties to distinguish the new wave from the old, but the term is obscelescent and needs to go.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:25
I agree that it is unfortunate that the term "Neo-Prog" has such an apparent stigma attached to it.   The term itself is fairly neutral, and even suggests a "new beginning" rather than a retread.  But in my experience, it's often used pejoratively.   I'm not sure if the better option is just to banish the tag or to try and clean up its image.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:26
Originally posted by Hercules

Harvest of Souls is as much like Supper's Ready as I am like Cameron Diaz.
 
And the same (almost) goes for Grendel.
On a whim I typed "describe Cameron Diaz" into Google and then read the WikiAnswers link. (swiftly ignoring the Best Answer)  ambitious brilliant courteous decisive energetic fearless generous humble industrious jovial kindhearted likeable modest neighborly optimis ...


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 07:36
Why shouldn't we call it New Wave of British Progressive Rock (NWoBPR)? Many of those bands who started the genre labeled as "Neo-Progressive" nowadays (Marillion, Pallas, IQ, Twelfth Night, Pendragon etc.) are UK-based and started c. 1983. It is just bad luck for those who assign a negative or pejorative connotation to the prefix "neo" (btw I don't) that this label, apparently launched by an outsider, became a big hit.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 08:06
All genre names are made-up by someone, very rarely by the bands themselves and often a long time after the style first came to light. Crossover Prog does not exist, we made it up, same for Eclectic Prog, we made that up too. According to Orford Neo Prog was coined sometime in the early 90s (and I agree with him), if it was ever known as NWoBPR then my guess is that was only in Sounds (or perhaps Kerrang!!), BUT Neo Prog is the name by which it is known - changing it would be revisionist, it would not be helpful.
 
Neo Prog is a noun, it no longer has a literal meaning and that's okay, we do that all the time: Neoclassicism began in the 18th Century - it's not new any more; the Neolithic era ended 4000 years ago - no one is complaining that the name should be changed because it's not new any more.
 
Changing the name will not remove the pejorative connotation nor will it change any associations within the subgenre.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 08:21
To be slightly fairer to Martin than my previous post: it's definitely true that for a while prog fans who liked to be a bit snobby about it did use "neo-prog" as a denigrating term. 

At the same time, I honestly think that "retro prog" is used as such a term far more these days than neo is. I don't think it was in especially common circulation 6 years back, so Martin may have been somewhat more justified in his feelings when he wrote the article than he would be if he said the same thing today. Personally, I think rather than coining an alternate term I think neo bands would be better off celebrating it because for people who are fond of that style of prog it's a sing that they'll probably enjoy what you are doing and people who tend to diss neo will apply the label to you anyway whether you like it or not. It's not like it's a racial slur or something, it's a perfectly neutral term and whether it is a derogatory or a respectful phrase depends entirely on how people use it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 08:39
Originally posted by someone_else

Why shouldn't we call it New Wave of British Progressive Rock (NWoBPR)? Many of those bands who started the genre labeled as "Neo-Progressive" nowadays (Marillion, Pallas, IQ, Twelfth Night, Pendragon etc.) are UK-based and started c. 1983.
I disagree. Even if it originated in the UK, Neo has clearly distinctive musical features and there are clear Neo bands from other countries, France, Spain, Germany... it's the style and sound what matters.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 08:44

 Neo-prog is a term used to describe the bands formed in the 1980's that piggybacked off the styles of the 1970's prog bands such as Yes, Genesis, Camel, and Pink Floyd.

The main distinction between neo-prog and classic prog was the more advanced technological advancements (namely the drum machine and the computer) and the subject matter.

Neo-prog contained western lyrics dealing with social situations while classic prog contained alot of fantasy and easter spirituality. Also, the songs were shorter and had more chart success than classic prog bands. This may be due to the fact that Neo-prog bands were not as adventurous as classic prog bands.

Since they try to replicate what was already done it's like making a photocopy of a photocopy. Genesis, King Crimson, and Yes all formed in 1969. Pink Floyd while formed in 1967, was more psychedelic than progressive until Atom Heart Mother. Camel formed in '71.

My point is that all these bands were original. They all worked at the same time, so they didn't really copy one another. Fish admits that he was heavily inspired by Genesis, The Moody Blues,Floyd, VDGG, and Yes. Same with Peter Nichols. They all worked from what was already done. That's why Martin doesn't like the Neo label. He feels that it is derogatory and denying his originality.  



Edited by Astral Traveller - January 17 2013 at 08:45

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 08:59
Originally posted by Astral Traveller

 Neo-prog is a term used to describe the bands formed in the 1980's that piggybacked off the styles of the 1970's prog bands such as Yes, Genesis, Camel, and Pink Floyd.

The main distinction between neo-prog and classic prog was the more advanced technological advancements (namely the drum machine and the computer) and the subject matter.

Wrong - they did not "piggyback" they "followed-on" - it was not a instantaneous change from one style to another it was a gradual process that began in 1977, what we used to call in the old days "a progression".
 
And what drum machine?
 
Mick Pointer? Andy Ward? Ian Mosley? Paul Cook? Mark Ridout? Scott Higham? Brian Deviol? Derek Forman? Colin Fraser?  Steen Doosing? Paul Johnson?
 
...are these all pseudonyms for a Roland TR808?
 
 


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 10:05

IQ used a drum machine for some of the more basic parts of Nomzano and Are You Sitting Comfortably? More on the latter since Paul Cook was sick during the recording of some of the tracks.  

Also I realize that 1975-1983 was the prog rock dark ages, but undoubtedly the neo-prog movement was heavily inspired by the symphonic prog of the early 70's. 


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 10:08
Originally posted by lucas

As you may know, Martin Orford of IQ is very unhappy of the tag allocated to the music he plays with IQ or Jadis, and in general to the prog rock scene that arose in the early eighties. He would prefer his music to be labeled "New Wave of Progressive Rock" as he feels offended when the press qualified the bands of the late nineties as "genuine" progressive rock (beacause of the use of vintage keyboards) as opposed to the "neo" progressive rock scene (due to the use of modern keyboards or electronic drums).


Neo- doesn't mean "not genuine"; that's a common misunderstanding.

From onelook.com: Neo- means: "A prefix meaning new, recent, late." From Oxford: "1. New. 2. A new or revived form."

In film, think of Italian Neo-realism, or the French New Wave. Today there's nothing "new" about the films of, say, Rossellini or Godard. But the tag stuck, denoting a historical period, as well as a kind of genre (i.e. not all post-war Italian films are considered Neorealist; not all 60s French films are considered a part of the Nouvelle vague).

So I say, keep the Neo-Prog label. :-)



Edited by jude111 - January 17 2013 at 10:15
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 10:41
Originally posted by Astral Traveller


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2013 at 10:50
New Wave of British Prog Rock is an interesting suggestion because 80s neo prog albums do have shades of NWOBHM here and there.  Think Garden Party, the beat especially would be suitable for an Iron Maiden track.    It is unfortunate that neo prog is often used in a derogatory sense because most second generation prog rock bands are derivative in any case.   At least, neo prog in its early days, like Canterbury, had a distinct sound and character and in that sense, continued to move prog to some place where it hadn't gotten to.   It may have since come to represent some formal preferences but the 80s bands did have a very British flavour.

Edited by rogerthat - January 17 2013 at 10:51
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