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Prog vs Progressive - Is there such a thing?

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Topic: Prog vs Progressive - Is there such a thing?
Posted By: Certif1ed
Subject: Prog vs Progressive - Is there such a thing?
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 07:54
Part I
 
 
It seems to me that many people, myself included, get confused over music that is Prog or Prog-Related, and music that is progressive.
 
Not surprising, since the former is implicitly the latter, isn't it?
 
Or is the latter the former?
 
What, exactly, do we mean by "progressive" anyway?
 
Ask two or more prog fans the same question, and I'm willing to bet you get different answers.
 
 
The most obvious answer is that there is some form of progression in the music - but this is usually related in one of three ways;
 
1. That the music itself contains progressions, the word here being used to mean passages of music that segue into another, standing in contrast to simple constructions such as a verse/chorus based song.
 
2. That the music on a particular recorded entity be somehow more sophisticated, or, failing that, merely different to music on a previous recorded entity by the same artist.
 
3. That the music by a particular artist be somehow more sophisticated than an artist held to not be progressive, or in some way equal to that of an artist that is held to be progressive.
 
 
Item 3 is obviously the weakest method of comparison, and leads to all kinds of vaguaries and misconceptions about what Progressive Rock really is, and item 2 ultimately shares the same doomed weakness.
 
Item 1 is not fantastic either, since many progressive compositions are indeed based around the old song structure, so focus here tends to shift to extended instrumentals, generally ignoring the fact that any band worth their salt enjoys a good jam session, and extended instrumentals can be very simple affairs, often comprising 3, 2 or even a single chord - so we're almost back where we started!
 
 
Let's backtrack a bit, to get a historical appreciation of Progressive Music.
 
Quite often I've seen mention of one of other of the great composers of centuries past, citing their progressive nature - and, in every sense we covered above, and others that we haven't considered yet, this is completely true.
 
For convenience sake, let's ignore them, because while they may have rocked, they most certainly did not produce rock music Tongue
 
In 1947, the Big Band arranger, Stan Kenton used the term to desribe his methods of arranging music - and this is the first recorded use of the term that I am aware of.
 
The "progressive" aspects were;
 
1) Kenton aimed to have a concert orchestra, rather than a standard big band, to perform the music - providing a kind of jazz/classical crossover.
 
This, of course, was nothing entirely new, since Debussy, Stravinsky and a large number of other "Classical" composers used jazz methods in their compositions, and Gershwin had already done the "Jazzman goes Classical" bit with "Rhapsody in Blue".
 
2) Layering. One of the things Kenton's progressive jazz was famous for was the layering of melodies, where one instrumental section would play a melody, then another would play a different melody over the top, adjusting for complimentary rhythms and so forth.
 
Students of counterpoint are probably tutting that this technique was already quite old by 1947 - but it was new(ish) to jazz, and especially to larger ensembles such as Kenton's, so we'll let that pass.
 
3) Harmonies. Of course, this layering led to dense harmonies, and dense harmonies were already a common aspect of jazz. Kenton could really push the envelope here, with such a musical force... of course, the Classical composers, such as Messaien and the Second Viennese School had worn out their T-Shirts long before.
 
4) Time Signatures. Kenton was fond of switching time sigs during a piece, and using sigs other than 2, 3 or 4. Maybe he was familiar with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (1910) - who knows?
 
"Rite of Spring", of course, contains enough polyrhythms, strange time sigs and asymmetries to keep an extreme metal fan occupied for quite some time. Even The Butcher Shop Quartet could only manage a (very good) approximation!
 
5) Instrumental Timbres. The addition of orchestral instruments led to Kenton's music sounding very much like some of the more atonal compositions of the early 20th Century, and indeed, much of his later work was pronounced "undanceable".
 
Where does the progressive jazz end and the modern classical begin? Wink
 
 
OK, so this is what Kenton meant by progressive - and it's really, really similar to many people's ideas of what makes Progressive Rock - unless you're talking about Prog after about 1975:
 
This coming together of the improvisational style of jazz and classical musics, and rendering of the rhythms, melodies and harmonies to the point where they become almost indistinguishable from a continuous and almost impenetrable noise seems very familiar to me when I hear Prog from that time, from ELP to King Crimson to Gentle Giant to Pink Floyd to Frank Zappa - it seems they were all pursuing a similar goal from completely different and personal directions.
 
It's even possible that this kind of push towards noise is what influenced George Martin to write THAT section for "A Day In The Life", and the similar (one might cruelly state identical) section on Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma".
 
It's also of note that the "noise" is harnessed - controlled in all cases. This can be seen as similar to total serialism, in which each minute parameter of music is scrupulously controlled by the composer, despite the end result ending up sounding like random noise.
 
For the more pedantic, of course, truly random noise, such as "white" noise is far removed from the vast majority of human compositions.... in the progressive jazz of Stan Kenton et al, we find that there are strong dissonances, melodies that tend towards the allusive and complexity in rhythm and timbre. The arrangements themselves also tend to lay flat any suggestion of musical form - but remain tightly controlled by the composer, while performances are encouraged to be wild, free interpretations of the score.
 
 
OK, we've followed that path for long enough.
 
It's plain to see how this applies to most "Classic" prog bands, but beyond that, it's not so clear.
 
 
The term "progressive" began to be somewhat overused by rock bands in the mid 1960s - if you were part of the progressive music scene, then, if your music sounded "right", then you could be considered a progressive musician - even if your abilities only stretched to the basic 3 rock chords, but if you learned a 4th, you were right in, as they say.
 
The Classic "Prog" bands (with exceptions) rose above this base, street/pub rock level, though, and progressive Rock became distinct from the Progressive Music (and Blues!) scenes with the release of "In The Court of the Crimson King".
 
Don't ask me why it was that album.
 
It's just one of those things. But there was an immediately apparent difference between King Crimson and, say, Led Zeppelin - but also plenty of "middle-ground" bands, such as Deep Purple and Spooky Tooth. Such is the spectrum of Progressive Rock - but such, also, are the differences between progressive rock acts and what you might call benchmark Prog groups - ones that live up to the ideals of the jazz men who first used the term.
 
Talking of benchmark Prog Groups, The Nice were actually responsible for releasing one of the few Progressive Rock albums that truly lives up to the initial goals - well before ITCOTCK was released. Robert Fripp was known to be a regular frequenter of The Marquee when The Nice were practically in residence, as were members of The Syn (later Yes) and numerous other Prog stalwarts.
 
"Ars Vita Longa Brevis" is simply breathtaking, even today, and truly makes you reconsider what Prog really is - if it matters to you, of course. And it's the second release by The Nice... and I'm not even a fan of Keith Emerson. Seriously, if you don't already own a copy, BUY IT and be blown away - or completely confused. Either way, it probably won't be what you expect to hear, and will be what you expect to hear at the same time.
 
In comparison, such proto-prog albums as "Days of Future Passed" pale into insignificance - a pop band backed by an orchestra, with some pretty songs - nothing more.
 
 
 
Comments?
 
Should I even bother with part II?  Smile


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The important thing is not to stop questioning.



Replies:
Posted By: Snow Dog
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 08:07
That's a lot to digest.

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http://www.last.fm/user/Snow_Dog" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Mr ProgFreak
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 08:19
So, what is your conclusion? You started with "Prog vs. Progressive", but the bulk of your post is about what qualifies as "progressive".

Since I know that you have often said that Dream Theater aren't really "progressive" - have a look at this list:

AC/DC - EDIT: Back in Black (instead of Hells Bells - my badEmbarrassed)
Dream Theater - Awake
Genesis - Foxtrot

According to the criteria that you mentioned, where would you put the Dream Theater album in respect to the other two?


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Posted By: patthemetaller
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 11:03
Surely "Prog" and "Progressive" means much the same?
 
I mean my interpretation was always along the lines of prog/progressive meaning a band that didn't let boundaries dictate their music writing i.e. bands whos song structures veered away from the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-guitar sole-repeat chorus to fade out.....; and bands that incorporated any instrument into their music that enhanced the music.  Here I'm coming from my experiences of the 1980's where thrashers ridiculed bands incorporating keyboards etc.
 
 


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Posted By: earlyprog
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 14:04
Certif1ed, nice connections to Stan Kenton who is indeed "pre-proto-prog". His "Concerto to end all concerts" from 1946 is very progressive in my ears and surely must have influenced someone like Morricone and later Keith Emerson.
 
Could you provide examples of rock artists that are progressive but not prog? That would help clarify things for me.


Posted By: Icarium
Date Posted: January 19 2010 at 14:33
what about Quince Jonce i saw a Documentary about him once where they said hee was verry early Pioneer in the Fusion off Classical music and Jazz big/band. which made him one of the gratest producers of all time 


Posted By: Certif1ed
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 03:23
Originally posted by patthemetaller patthemetaller wrote:

Surely "Prog" and "Progressive" means much the same?
 
I mean my interpretation was always along the lines of prog/progressive meaning a band that didn't let boundaries dictate their music writing i.e. bands whos song structures veered away from the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-guitar sole-repeat chorus to fade out.....; and bands that incorporated any instrument into their music that enhanced the music.  Here I'm coming from my experiences of the 1980's where thrashers ridiculed bands incorporating keyboards etc.
 
 
 
There's clearly a difference - in fact, I would say there is a sliding scale of progressiveness.
 
The Kenton model is interesting, because it addressess all 5 fundamental elements of music, and is a close match to what can be found in "Classic" Prog. It also conveniently explains Can and Hawkwind alongside ELP and King Crimson.
 
 
Originally posted by aginor aginor wrote:

what about Quince Jonce i saw a Documentary about him once where they said hee was verry early Pioneer in the Fusion off Classical music and Jazz big/band. which made him one of the gratest producers of all time 
 
I saw a documentary about Quicy recently - he had loads of good ideas.
 
Could you clarify your question? What about him?
 
 
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

Certif1ed, nice connections to Stan Kenton who is indeed "pre-proto-prog". His "Concerto to end all concerts" from 1946 is very progressive in my ears and surely must have influenced someone like Morricone and later Keith Emerson.
 
Could you provide examples of rock artists that are progressive but not prog? That would help clarify things for me.
 
 
Rather than produce a whole load of lists of "X" vs "Y", I think it's more helpful to get a handle on what "Progressive" means, in relation to music.
 
I have a feeling it means more than following the model of the first guy to use the term, but it's a good place to start, because the similarities in the model are so similar to the realities that it can't be just a co-incidence, can it?


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The important thing is not to stop questioning.


Posted By: Certif1ed
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 03:24
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak Mr ProgFreak wrote:

So, what is your conclusion? 
 
You started with "Prog vs. Progressive", but the bulk of your post is about what qualifies as "progressive".

 
Quite obviously, I haven't reached a conclusion! Why should I - I'm not trying to tell people stuff, I'm asking a question and considering possibilites for an answer, or set of answers via a testable system. As you may notice from the subtitle, the first post in this blog is subtitled "Part I"...
 
I expect there will be many parts, if I'm encouraged to go on rambling!
 
 
Is there a problem with considering what is "progressive"? I made a blog quite a while back entitled "What Is Prog", which is easy to find in the "Blogs" section of this site, so surely some time should be devoted to "progressive".
 
We can redress the balance over the course of this blog - that is, after all, the point. Smile
 
 
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak Mr ProgFreak wrote:

Since I know that you have often said that Dream Theater aren't really "progressive" - have a look at this list:

AC/DC - Hells Bells
Dream Theater - Awake
Genesis - Foxtrot
According to the criteria that you mentioned, where would you put the Dream Theater album in respect to the other two?
 
You're trying to draw me onto a completely different topic, and an old argument that you still seem to feel a bit sore about, but I guess it is useful to consider specific bands.
 
I'm quite a bit mystified as to why you would pit a Classic Prog album against one heavy metal song and a Progressive Metal album - could you explain your motive?
 
It is obvious that "Hells Bells" is a heavy metal song with a blues base and some interesting ways of using the blues (plus a novelty bell sound!), and Foxtrot ticks a huge number of boxes in the Kenton model - but interestingly, does not really approach the dissonance aspect.
 
I have never heard "Awake" by Dream Theater, and, from my experience with some of their other albums, I do not intend to subject myself to such an ordeal! Why should I continue to explore a band that I dislike?
 
Let me quote from the reviews on this site;
 
""Awake" is purely metal and clearly influenced by band members' all time favorite rockers"
 
"On composition, all tracks have been beautifully crafted by the band, each track is well positioned to create ultimate satisfaction for listeners."
 
"Overall this album is produced well and is a delight for metal fans of the first two albums yet it continues the brilliant prog sound which follows on from the previous album."
 
"Erotomania is a dark and spellbounding instrumental that reminds me of "The Call of Ktulu" by Metallica."
 
"It is hard to say exactly what it is that falls short, but I believe it's mainly down to the guitar work. While it's fast and well performed, the solos seem to be to be rather directionless, and predictable."
 
" I was very impressed with the band's technical skills too."
 
"Dream Theater are ideal for those who want more than just plain Heavy Metal,a sort of Young Person's Guide to Prog Music.Not for me though. "
 
"Excellent work, but it's not a masterpiece in my opinion because it's a little repetitive sometimes (Voices, The Mirror, Lie and Scarred are too much similar songs...)"
 
 
It's telling that none of the reviews really dig in and describe the various aspects of music in terms of their complexities, but instead tend to simply mention that the reviewer thought them complex. I would rather doubt that it fits Kenton's model at all, any more than, say, Metallica or Iron Maiden (who Portnoy acknowledges were major influences on the band).


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The important thing is not to stop questioning.


Posted By: earlyprog
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 06:56
"Progressive" is related to novelty and "inventive step" i.e. current (new) music needs to be assessed by the degree it deviates from prior music in order to establish it's degree of progressiveness.
 
A song is progressive if
  1. sections within the song deviate significantly from each other (the song "progresses"), or:
  2. the song deviates significantly from any earlier recorded songs/music, or:
  3. sections of the song are by themselves progressive as per the Kenton definition or the Emerson model/definition

Criterion #3 is where the music is progressed beyond it's base core, so to speak. It allows the musicians to add a little (or a lot) extra than required (goes beyond expectations). The first guitarist who did that was probably Steve Howe, a true progresive guitarist (as per criterion 3). The first keyboardist who did that was probably Keith Emerson. The first bass player was possibly Chris Squire. All filled every possible space in the music making it denser.

Prog (yes prog) was initiated (as proto-prog) when individual players such as Howe and Emerson began to "saturate" the music in a rock context.

"Emerson model" is one that defines prog as music that incorporates "the noodling" of the musicians, or something along those lines, I don't remember his exact words.
 
A song satisfying criterion #2 is "novel" but not necessarily "progressive" as per criterion #3.


Posted By: Certif1ed
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 08:39
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

"Progressive" is related to novelty and "inventive step" i.e. current (new) music needs to be assessed by the degree it deviates from prior music in order to establish it's degree of progressiveness.
 
A song is progressive if
  1. sections within the song deviate significantly from each other (the song "progresses"), or:
  2. the song deviates significantly from any earlier recorded songs/music, or:
  3. sections of the song are by themselves progressive as per the Kenton definition or the Emerson model/definition

Criterion #3 is where the music is progressed beyond it's base core, so to speak. It allows the musicians to add a little (or a lot) extra than required (goes beyond expectations). The first guitarist who did that was probably Steve Howe, a true progresive guitarist (as per criterion 3). The first keyboardist who did that was probably Keith Emerson. The first bass player was possibly Chris Squire. All filled every possible space in the music making it denser.

Prog (yes prog) was initiated (as proto-prog) when individual players such as Howe and Emerson began to "saturate" the music in a rock context.

"Emerson model" is one that defines prog as music that incorporates "the noodling" of the musicians, or something along those lines, I don't remember his exact words.
 
A song satisfying criterion #2 is "novel" but not necessarily "progressive" as per criterion #3.
 
Where is this definition rooted? Is it one of your own invention, or is there reference material available?
 
There are quite a few problems with it, beginning with the very first sentence.
 
"Progressive" may be related to novelty, but that it is a minor aspect, and novelty does not equal progressive!
 
For instance, Joe Dolce's "Shaddap Your Face" was a novelty, but hardly progressive.
 
 
On to the numbered list, only item 3 carries any substance, in my opinion.
 
1) If a song is in song format, then it only "progresses" as a song. All music "progresses" in time - that is the nature of music.
 
The sections of a song do not need to "deviate significantly" - in fact, there are many pop songs in which sections "deviate significantly", for example, any song which has quiet sections followed by loud sections. Nickelback's "How You Remind Me", and Nirvana's "Come As You Are" are good examples of this.
 
Genesis' "The Musical Box", for example, is packed with short sections which change, but do not significantly deviate from each other - in fact, each section appears to "grow" from the last. This kind of musical evolution could easily be held to be an example of progression in music.
 
2) Taking Genesis as the example again (there are other Prog Rock bands!), their overall style of song writing did not deviate significantly from album to album during the first 10 years or so (excluding the debut).
 
The songs share a lot of the same characteristics in terms of orchestration, long melody lines, the evolving musical idea I mentioned above, rhythmic motifs and formal exploration. This is not to say that the band did not progress, simply that deviance is not a signifier of progression.
 
The Deviants are a topical example of this.
 
The other main problem with this statement is that very few songs deviate "significantly" from any earlier recorded songs when you get to about 1969, which is when Prog was supposed to have "officially" started.
 
All I'm saying here is that the parameters need to be more confined - "deviates significantly" needs to be quantified.
 
3) In the Kenton model, it's pretty much the whole thing, rather than sections of the piece - but there also seems to be this overall goal within each piece to deconstruct the original ideas as much as possible and form a new overall sound.
 
I'm not sure about the "Emerson model" you cite - I assume you mean that wonderful quote of his about turning the music upside down and so forth, which is recorded somewhere in my "What is Prog?" blog.
 
Despite its vagueness, it is quite a good model for Prog Rock if only because it fits much "Classic" Prog. One of the biggest weaknesses in it is that it excludes just about all Modern Prog and Prog Metal (but, remarkably, includes unexpected acts like Metallica).
 
 
How does Steve Howe qualify as a "true progressive guitarist"? I would accept that statement of Robert Fripp, but I don't see how Howe fits the model (probably because I don't actually like Yes, so haven't paid him much attention!).
 
Emerson was first to get his kind of keyboard-driven Progressive Rock recorded, but there were a lot of "Progressive" keyboard players around at that time and before. He certainly fits the Kenton model best of all the keyboardists I can think of, but Billy Ritchie of Clouds had been doing similar things before The Nice were formed, and there were other innovative organists such as Graham Bond, Mick Weaver - and even Jimmy Smith.
 
Chris Squire was certainly an inventive bass player, but he did tend to hang on to repetitive riffs (from the little I've heard of Yes, which includes their first 3, Relayer, and Tales). Greg Lake's playing on "ITCOTCK" is certainly closer to either model than Squire's on either of Yes' first 2 albums.
 
I don't think that filling every possible space in the music to make it denser is really the ultimate goal of progressive music, or we'd only need write the equivalent of white noise to create it, and I think that the saturation achieved in Kenton's music, and some (but only some) of the "Classic" bands is only part of the story and definition.
 
 
This is why I think further exploration is needed - you've touched on some aspects of Prog/progressive, but not really made a distinction, and left out quite a large proportion of the body of music that makes up Prog Rock.
 
The model can only work if it's inclusive - the Kenton model and Emerson definition are both good places to start, but neither ultimately define Prog or differentiate it from progressive music. Progressive music itself, as you've rightly pointed out, must be defined several ways. As Robert Plant sang; "You know sometimes words have two meanings".
 
Smile


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The important thing is not to stop questioning.


Posted By: earlyprog
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 10:14
Prog is progressive rock (!) but not necessarily novel progressive rock. Often novel prog gets overlooked, at least to begin with, until finally accepted as prog perhaps even as a new genre of prog.
 
A static measure of "progressive" applies to most of today's prog while a dynamic measure of "progressive" that includes a high inventive step applies to very few and particularly late 60's prog.
 
You need to allow for new, novel prog which is boundary breaking. Prog is not static. In other words, the subgenres of prog are static whereas the definition of prog continues to evolve as new subgenres of prog will develop as prog with a high degree of novelty continues to develop.
 
BTW my previous post was just a discourse on "progressive" and not intended as a definition. I wish I could find a reference on Emerson's definition of prog. I once tried but didn't succeed.
 
If the prog genres on PA are included in your definition/understanding of prog then yes my definition (which I haven't stated) leaves out a large portion of what you think makes up Prog. (Don't get me started on psychedelic rock and Avant Prog LOL)
 
(Isn't Prog simply differentiated from progressive music as being the rock part of the latter? Is this simply the question you need to ask? I assume your thread is caused by the numerous claims that something is prog when in fact it's not according to you)


Posted By: ExittheLemming
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 10:51
A laudable attempt to nail that slippery Progressive jellyfish to the ceiling sir. For what it's worth, I think criteria 1 is easily the most robust:

1. That the music itself contains progressions, the word here being used to mean passages of music that segue into another, standing in contrast to simple constructions such as a verse/chorus based song.

However, to avoid those 'flat-packed epics' that are rife in pseudo prog i.e. short disparate sections of music that neither anticipate what follows or are seeded by what came before. i.e. an elongated medley of unrelated constituent parts. The best term I can come up with to describe musical materials that preface what is to come and continue to carry the 'DNA' of what came before is Evolve.

I think segue a very apt proviso but very often such transitions are no more than 'linking glue' applied by skilful but unscrupulous arrangers.

Whoops, I think I just unwittingly made a case for Brian Wilson to be admitted to PA ? Confused



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Posted By: Icarium
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 11:55

 
 
Originally posted by aginor aginor wrote:

what about Quince Jonce i saw a Documentary about him once where they said hee was verry early Pioneer in the Fusion off Classical music and Jazz big/band. which made him one of the gratest producers of all time 
 
I saw a documentary about Quicy recently - he had loads of good ideas.
 
Could you clarify your question? What about him?
 
well I ment with the question to what extenct may Quincy have deveolped futher on Kentons Ideas, I know that Quincy studied classic music in France and had a carear as a Jazz trumpet player, (also early friend of Ray Charles), but in the documentary it explains him as one of the pioneers of Orcestrated Jazz, had he then any influence on Progressive Jazz from that perspective. (ive actualy not heard of Kenton or dont remember he sounds like an Important person in the History of popular music (not POP). Did Quincy and Kenton have any relation ship with one another, did they influnce eachother Confused i hope this make sence


or was Quiny a product of Kenton Confused


Posted By: Procol Harum Machine
Date Posted: January 20 2010 at 15:45
I always thought prog was a separate genre till recently. Confused

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Posted By: Certif1ed
Date Posted: January 21 2010 at 04:23
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

A laudable attempt to nail that slippery Progressive jellyfish to the ceiling sir.
 
Permission to steal the line "slippery Progressive jellyfish"? Big smile
 
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:


Whoops, I think I just unwittingly made a case for Brian Wilson to be admitted to PA ? Confused

 
Easily done. Watch where that jellyfish flies...
 
How to spot the difference between a miraculous evolving segue and mere glue?
 
 
One of the slipperyest and most bipolar truths is that "You just feel it".
 
This truth is the constant cause of argument because everybody feels music differently - but at the same time, it's generally acknowledged that there must be a line somewhere, as your Brian Wilson example illustrates.
 
 
I was asked in an earlier post to provide some kind of list.
 
Lists can be useful, but how do you go about compiling a definitive list of bands?
 
The answer I came up with to that question is simply "You can't".
 
 
It is tempting to try to list Prog vs progressive vs non-progressive artists - but as music is personal, everyone has their own way of doing things, so there can be no boundaries, only gradients.
 
On the other hand, some kind of definitive list would help by way of benchmark - all too frequently, comparisons are made in order to justify progressiveness, so let's have some authentic bands to use as comparisons - why not? Smile
 
 
I looked at the 40 most popular artists on this site in the last 24 hours for a list to kick this off - but seeing that it currently contains Iron Maiden and Various Artists, and omits Hawkwind and Can, I'm not so certain that it's a definitive Prog list...
 
Other than that, it seems to be well represented, with all the usual suspects and a few surprises;
 

POPULAR ARTISTS (TOP 40, LAST 24H) :

  • artist.asp?id=105 - Yes
  • artist.asp?id=191 - King Crimson
  • artist.asp?id=1 - Genesis
  • artist.asp?id=609 - Rush
  • artist.asp?id=290 - Porcupine Tree
  • artist.asp?id=364 - Pink Floyd
  • artist.asp?id=1023 - Frank Zappa
  • artist.asp?id=418 - Jethro Tull
  • artist.asp?id=378 - Dream Theater
  • artist.asp?id=50 - Camel
  • artist.asp?id=2634 - Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
  • artist.asp?id=839 - Mike Oldfield
  • artist.asp?id=653 - Mindgames
  • artist.asp?id=118 - Gentle Giant
  • artist.asp?id=646 - Magma
  • artist.asp?id=1287 - Riverside
  • artist.asp?id=233 - Marillion
  • artist.asp?id=549 - Nektar
  • artist.asp?id=848 - Gong
  • artist.asp?id=1295 - Tangerine Dream
  • artist.asp?id=343 - Van Der Graaf Generator
  • artist.asp?id=281 - Ozric Tentacles
  • artist.asp?id=95 - Eloy
  • artist.asp?id=94 - Emerson Lake & Palmer
  • artist.asp?id=337 - Transatlantic
  • artist.asp?id=405 - Big Big Train
  • artist.asp?id=3807 - In Mourning
  • artist.asp?id=613 - Caravan
  • artist.asp?id=658 - Focus
  • artist.asp?id=1249 - Soniq Theater
  • artist.asp?id=630 - Kansas
  • artist.asp?id=1157 - Uriah Heep
  • artist.asp?id=2629 - Iron Maiden
  • artist.asp?id=782 - Steve Hackett
  • artist.asp?id=655 - Barclay James Harvest
  • artist.asp?id=1969 - Deep Purple
  • artist.asp?id=165 - IQ
  • artist.asp?id=603 - Renaissance
  • artist.asp?id=289 - Premiata Forneria Marconi
  • artist.asp?id=27 - Arena
  •  
     
    Which of these, if any, are progressive rather than "Prog"?
     
     
    Finally (for now), I feel it would be good to have a list of the many distinct definitions of "Progressive" as it relates to music.
     
    A quick cogitatation provides;
     
    1) General evolution of musical ideas in a historical context, ie from one generation of musicians to another. These musical ideas may be broken down into a list of specific "elements" and compared against their use by previous generations.
     
    2) Evolution of musical ideas within a piece - i.e. the musical ideas evolve within their own context. Best examined from a theoretical perspective, as it can be difficult to hear this at work from a casual listen.
     
    3) An attitude or propensity of musicians to actively attempt to create new and different music (This is like the difference between Radiohead's "Kid A" and "OK Computer", where the entire musical style is radically changed).
     
    4) "Novelty", or use of radical musical ideas within a piece, such as tangential changes, new or unusual instrumentation, unusual time signatures, etc.
     
    5) A sound or style which is peculiarly progressive. This may be many, many things, can be very personal, and is not really useful, but nevertheless, is a means by which "progressiveness" is measured in "real life".
     
    6) General acceptance of a band by a fan base or the media, of progressive status. Meh. If only this were not true! LOL
     
     
    Any glaring omissions?
     
     
    I'll come back to "Progressive" in a later post, because there are more historical examples that precede the 1960s - again, in Jazz - and also because I think that "Progressive" should be thrashed out a bit more until a level of granularity is achieved, along the lines of;
     
    1. Not progressive. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is more progressive.
    2. A bit progressive - more progressive than "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", that's for sure.
    3. Contains identifiable progressive ideas (let's avoid "elements"!). "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat"?
    4. Progressive. Easy Star All-Stars. Oh, hang on, they're a cover band...
    5. Full-blown Prog Rock, no doubt about it. "Starship Trooper".
     
     
    More lists than you can shake a stick at Smile
     
    Oh, and http://www.progrockandmetal.net/progressive_music_definition.htm - this article entertained me greatly;


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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: January 21 2010 at 09:00
    ^Regarding your list of definitions of "progressive":
    • Definition 1: the progression/evolution of music over time / with time scale (the decade/era/large time scale rather than the minute/song/small time scale) can be limited i.e. characterized by low novelty, novelty being relative not absolute as you suggest in definition 4; the two definitions can/should be merged, perhaps using "inventive step" (inventiveness?) as the measure
    • I recommend a stronger emphasis on the way the musical piece is delivered - is it delivered by progressive musicians (Steve Howe can deliver a pop piece so that it sounds progressive). Examples are the many pieces by Beatles that were delivered in a much more proggy manner by Deep Purple, Yes, etc in the late 60's. This is where The Emerson model indicates its importance I think. In contrast, a piece originally delivered as prog by Yes can be non-prog when performed by other musicians. (Oh yes, and even Bob Dylan has been covered in many proggy versions)
    • Yes, new (or rarely used) technology (instruments/sounds, playing techniques, production techniques etc) obviously indicates an inventive step - large or small
    • Definition 6: the definition ought to be objective rather than subjective, so f*** what others think is prog

    Now I see that your purpose is to establish a measure of progressiveness, right?



    Posted By: About The Round
    Date Posted: January 23 2010 at 20:03
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    "Progressive" is related to novelty and "inventive step" i.e. current (new) music needs to be assessed by the degree it deviates from prior music in order to establish it's degree of progressiveness.
     
    A song is progressive if
    1. sections within the song deviate significantly from each other (the song "progresses"), or:
    2. the song deviates significantly from any earlier recorded songs/music, or:
    3. sections of the song are by themselves progressive as per the Kenton definition or the Emerson model/definition

    Criterion #3 is where the music is progressed beyond it's base core, so to speak. It allows the musicians to add a little (or a lot) extra than required (goes beyond expectations). The first guitarist who did that was probably Steve Howe, a true progresive guitarist (as per criterion 3). The first keyboardist who did that was probably Keith Emerson. The first bass player was possibly Chris Squire. All filled every possible space in the music making it denser.

    Prog (yes prog) was initiated (as proto-prog) when individual players such as Howe and Emerson began to "saturate" the music in a rock context.

    "Emerson model" is one that defines prog as music that incorporates "the noodling" of the musicians, or something along those lines, I don't remember his exact words.
     
    A song satisfying criterion #2 is "novel" but not necessarily "progressive" as per criterion #3.

    Being progressive is about attitude. And Progressive rock is rock music with an progressive attitude. Even Avant and Rio outfits do not have to be progressive in the strictest musically sense cause it's already done by Varese and other modern composers. But the addition of rock distinguishes Avant/Rio from Varese hence the term progressive relates to mainstream/traditional rock only.  


    Posted By: Dean
    Date Posted: January 23 2010 at 21:50
    It is evident (to me) from the observation that not all Progressive Rock music can be described by one set of criteria (however simple or complex you care to make it), that accepted Prog bands exist that use some, all or none of the criteria and still somehow manage to be "Progressive", while others can use a proven subset of the criteria in a 'prog-by-numbers' approach and thus be Prog but not Progressive. This is not a failing of the criteria, or even a failure of our understanding of "what is Prog/Progressive", but a function of the nature of the beast.
     
    Could it be that these elements, models and criteria are simply a byproduct (accidental or otherwise) of the process rather than being the defining and (hence) the driving force, that by looking at the final result and deducting the process from it we are in danger of over-analysing to the extent of finding perceived patterns in random coincidence?
     
    If these changes (evolution) are not evident to the casual listener then they possibly were not that evident to the "composer" either, but where a natural (i.e. logical) development of the tune from a relatively simple melody, refrain or rhythm pattern over the course of the piece through some artistic performance process (additive/subtractive and expanding/contracting) rather than by planned compositional design process (following some rule or progression). Simply put, the next note is the one that sounds right, whether it fits the chosen key or not; the next beat is the one that feels right, whether it fits the chosen time signature or not and the next word is the one that is right, whether it scans or rhymes or not.
     
    (Carrying on the Evolution analogy) those 'random' mutations (of note, beat, word, etc) feedback into the composition forcing a development (progression) of the underlying melody and rhythm, which leads to yet another mutation, more feedback and more progression - so, for example, a key change is forced by the mutation, not by some plan, or a time signature change is created by accident rather than design
     
    Given that Progressive Rock didn't have a fixed centre of origin (even taking King Crimson into account - even they had peers and contemporaries, none of whom were clones or copyists) then it is unlikely that any set of criteria can be right for all bands, even from the time when the sum total of all the members of those bands could fit comfortably in the Marquee or the UFO club, so it is equally as unlikely that a set of criteria can be concluded that describes the generic idea of what Progressive means.
     
    This is not to say that some Progressive artists didn't have a plan or modus operandi, for it is clear that once some bands found a magic formula they often repeated it, whereas others simply copied a perceived process without understanding of the mechanics behind it, and with that, the pioneers and experimentalists are as likely to have been from outside the genre as they are from within it.
     
     
     
     
     
    ...not from Prog, but an example of what I'm trying to say never-the-less:
     
    Quote In yet a further shape and style shift, the B side of "The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme" was "Philip Glass", a homage to the great American minimalist composer. "My brother and I had to do that one in a night to fulfil our quota of tracks for 4AD," recalls Martyn. "We were a bit drunk when we recorded it!" You'd hardly think so from its rigorously mellifluous tones. "We actually got to meet Philip Glass because of that. He said his son preferred the other side but explained the mathematics of the way he put his tracks together, which we couldn't make head nor tail of."
     
     
     
     

     


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    What?


    Posted By: Atavachron
    Date Posted: January 23 2010 at 22:03
     ^ well if musical creation is anything like writing - which in many ways it is - I suspect your postulation is accurate to the extent that most literature is over-interpreted: more often than is widely thought the author did not intentionally include symbols, allegories or even morals in a story.  That those patterns seem to exist is more a function of the nature and limitations of language, the brain, people, and how those things function and interact.




    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: January 24 2010 at 06:25
    As I see it, Dean and Atavachron are also establishing the same formula or relationship between input and output, the former being the constituents of the music, the latter being the feelings and thoughts the music generates in the listener. In other words, prog rock can be defined both by the constituents of the music and by the psychological effects observed by the listener.
     
    Both sides of the equation "Psychological effect" = f(composition/variables of music) are equally valid as a definition of (the level of) prog, but the relationship between the two allows you to design or predict the outcome of the music.
     
    The formulation would be less complex if focusing on a subgenre of prog as a description of the aggeregate or sum of prog subgenres is likely to fail as not all subgenres on PA are actually prog (IMO).
     
    Anyway, back to the initial question: "Prog vs. progressive - Is there such as thing"? Well, what is meant by "vs."? Is it the relationship between prog and progressive(ness)?


    Posted By: Toaster Mantis
    Date Posted: January 24 2010 at 07:14
    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    1. That the music itself contains progressions, the word here being used to mean passages of music that segue into another, standing in contrast to simple constructions such as a verse/chorus based song.


    This is the definition of "progressive" I generally use, or the record I don't distinguish between prog and progressive and it does overlap with some genres that are similar but distinctive. Psychedelic rock, for instance, can be progressive (Pink Floyd, Amon Düül II) or not (13th Floor Elevators, Blue Cheer).

    Quote Item 1 is not fantastic either, since many progressive compositions are indeed based around the old song structure, so focus here tends to shift to extended instrumentals, generally ignoring the fact that any band worth their salt enjoys a good jam session, and extended instrumentals can be very simple affairs, often comprising 3, 2 or even a single chord - so we're almost back where we started!


    I get the impression that it's supposed to be "progressive" relative to normal rock music, so things like the extended instrumentals or jams should be longer or at least more deliberate and planned than in other rock genres. Of course, this is based again on relations and generalizations about how much exactly makes something progressive but pretty much any kind of categorization system is based on generalizations that are bound to not always be correct.


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    "The past is not some static being, it is not a previous present, nor a present that has passed away; the past has its own dynamic being which is constantly renewed and renewing." - Claire Colebrook


    Posted By: Dean
    Date Posted: January 24 2010 at 08:02
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    As I see it, Dean and Atavachron are also establishing the same formula or relationship between input and output, the former being the constituents of the music, the latter being the feelings and thoughts the music generates in the listener. In other words, prog rock can be defined both by the constituents of the music and by the psychological effects observed by the listener.
     
    Both sides of the equation "Psychological effect" = f(composition/variables of music) are equally valid as a definition of (the level of) prog, but the relationship between the two allows you to design or predict the outcome of the music.
    If the nett result is the same (which it is) then the you could argue that the function/criteria/model is irrelevant since it adequately describes what is known to be both Prog and Progressive, however it only describes what will be Prog, not what will be Progressive. Any artist that follows the "rules" will create music that is Prog Rock, but it will be a pastiche of Progressive since the music itself and the compositional process was not progressive and did not progress.
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

     
    The formulation would be less complex if focusing on a subgenre of prog as a description of the aggeregate or sum of prog subgenres is likely to fail as not all subgenres on PA are actually prog (IMO).
    I think it fails even when restricted to a narrow subset (subgenre) of Prog, in that some of the artists were unquestionably progressive while the others were merely replicating the process and sounding progressive.
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

      
    Anyway, back to the initial question: "Prog vs. progressive - Is there such as thing"? Well, what is meant by "vs."? Is it the relationship between prog and progressive(ness)?
    I think I've covered those points above (and elsewhere) - Prog is a noun that describes a collection of bands/music while progressive is an adjective that implies advancement. The "vs." is an implication that Prog (n) does not have to be Progressive (adj) and vice versa.


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    What?


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 11:15
    ^ I echo Dean's first point here. How can there be a set of rules applying to an approach which aims to break them? I don't feel you can have preconceived ideas about how progressive music should sound, because that defeats the objective of pushing boundaries and challenging convention.

    I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.

    No disrespect to mainstream rock, of course.  Tongue



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    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Slartibartfast
    Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 15:51
    Prog is an illusion.  Progressive doubly so.

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    Released date are often when it it impacted you but recorded dates are when it really happened...



    Posted By: Stevo
    Date Posted: January 26 2010 at 16:52
    I think your question is about Progressive music as a style vs. progressive music as a forward moving art form.  Its the same discussion that architects have about Modernism, which really hasn't been modern for 30 years!
    Yes, Prog has certain qualities that one can list: orchestration, complex time signitures, keyboards, classical inspiration, layering of themes, etc. . Recent progressive music may or may not have the same characteristics.
    Most people at this website seem to be interested in both, and probably are not satisfied with progressive music simply because it may be breaking new ground. Its interesting to me when a band with a progressive sound such as SGM is making references, intentionally or accidentally, to its Progressive ancestors ( King Crimson comes to mind) without sounding retro or derivative.  Stevo


    Posted By: sealchan
    Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 13:53
    I think that for the purposes of understanding Prog Rock, it should be understood with respect to the Rock of its time.  And it could be that the definition is based on what Rock typically is making Prog Rock what Rock typically isn't.  The definition would be tied to a separate definition for Rock and would have no more or less qualifications placed on it for that.
     
    Progressive rock could mean both prog rock and progressive music in the broadest sense of the word progressive.  But progressive could encompass the following:
     
    1.  An evolution taking place consciously by the efforts of the musician
    2.  An evolution taking place unconsciously
    3.  A musical invention which emulates 1. in a contemporary way (within a limited time range like the amount of time it typically takes for a band to release an album, tour and get to the studio to create a new one and get it released)
     
    For 1. a musician or band could choose to progressively try out various new styles that have been more thoroughly explored by musicians who are not progressive but perform within the genre.  At some level it may not matter if the material is new in general but only new to the performer as to whether it is progressive.  But for me such distinctions are not interesting.  I'd rather identify a static form or look at how music evolves whether that is within a band or across the whole field of musical performance. 
     
    To identify how rock music has progressed, I think it is usually better to create new genre's or sub-genre's where appropriate and then identify how the various genre's have evolved with respect to each other.  That way prog/progressive rock is a static form (within which inovation can take place just as much as any other genre) and musicians and/or bands can progress in their music and that can be characterized as improved skills, experimentation in other pre-existing genre's or carving out of a new genre. 
     
    So if you are wanting progressive (aka prog) rock to be "better today than it was yesterday" you have to ask yourself if this is what you want or if you really want to listen to music from other genres.  For me I would prefer to keep progressive rock as a genre with its sub-genre's, but I think what needs to happen perhaps is for there to be a definition for Rock as Progressive Rock is really a sub-genre of Rock
     
    Here is one fictional theorists chalkboard diagram (from the movie School of Rock):
     
    http://lh3.ggpht.com/_R49PZ9npS60/RRAOKXBlABI/AAAAAAAABAA/i7298Kx6ICw/chalkboard.jpg">
     


    Posted By: Atavachron
    Date Posted: January 27 2010 at 16:27
    brilliant diagram, and I like how Zappa and Can are in the '?' section


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: January 28 2010 at 03:30
    Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

      
    Anyway, back to the initial question: "Prog vs. progressive - Is there such as thing"? Well, what is meant by "vs."? Is it the relationship between prog and progressive(ness)?
    I think I've covered those points above (and elsewhere) - Prog is a noun that describes a collection of bands/music while progressive is an adjective that implies advancement. The "vs." is an implication that Prog (n) does not have to be Progressive (adj) and vice versa.
     
    This has enough definition, but enough vagueness to catch the trickier bands/music.
     
    It's a mulit-faceted question indeed, and, while it's pretty much a given that "Prog"(n) is inherently Progressive, Progressive (adj) does not mean Prog.
     
    In fact, there's an issue with "Progressive" even in all the definitions and models, and it appears frequently - how progressive is progressive music, and should we ignore musicians that have produced progressive music when it's clear that the prevailing view is that the band is more famous for a specific genre or style?
     
    What if they've simply been progressive within their style, like The Beatles, The Stranglers - or even Coldplay?
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    ^ I echo Dean's first point here. How can there be a set of rules applying to an approach which aims to break them?
     
     
    Great question.
     
    This is precisely why I'm staying away from rules, and looking at models, like the Kenton one.
     
    However, this question relies on there being rules to start with - so maybe it's those rules that need to be defined?
     
    Which rules, specifically, are being broken?
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    I don't feel you can have preconceived ideas about how progressive music should sound, because that defeats the objective of pushing boundaries and challenging convention.
     
     
    Completely agree.
     
    However, it is true to say that Modern Prog relies more on a style and sound than this objective - so really, there ARE preconcieved ideas about how the music should sound in that very statement... or maybe it'd be truer to say that there are preconcieved ideas about how it should NOT sound - which are rules in their own way.
     

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.
     
     
    This is exactly the Kenton model, but in a less granular form.
     
    I fully agree that "distinct" is not enough to be "progressive".
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    No disrespect to mainstream rock, of course.  Tongue
     
    It's quite surprising how "progressive" (adj) some mainstream rock can be. Wink
     
     
    Originally posted by Stevo Stevo wrote:


    Most people at this website seem to be interested in both, and probably are not satisfied with progressive music simply because it may be breaking new ground. Its interesting to me when a band with a progressive sound such as SGM is making references, intentionally or accidentally, to its Progressive ancestors ( King Crimson comes to mind) without sounding retro or derivative.  Stevo
     
    Isn't the trouble with much of it that it only doesn't sound retro because of the production - this would seem to be what Fieldofsorrow is saying about "distinct" vs "progressive".
     
    I don't think that having a shiny new timbre is enough - most pop and rock bands have modern production - and the "references" to older groups tend to be either exact "quotes" or something stylistically similar applied to standard rock songs.
     
    The standard rock song thing is the antithesis to progressive, so why should making music that sounds a bit like Crimson, Camel or Floyd but with sparkly new production be considered progressive, while truly progressive music such as Radiohead's "Kid A", with all its retro kit and production values become the subject of intense debate over its prog credentials?
     
    Why is Modern Prog even called Prog, when virtually none of it comes close to the ideals that most people in this discussion have put forward?
     
    Just something I don't understand.
     
    Maybe the topic of another thread... I'll get back to the title subject in my next post Smile
     
     


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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: January 28 2010 at 10:47
    Interesting points there. And how difficult it is to attempt to formulate rules which define progressive music by being broken, rather than kept! I probably have little new to contribute on these grounds, but in my opinion, I think that since we are dealing with a way of thinking that blurs all stylistic distinctions, perhaps the rules that have the potential to be and already have been broken are limitless in number, because there are so many aspects of the rock idiom that are generic.

    Taking that a little further, perhaps all it boils down to approaching composition in numerous ways that significantly differ from musical trends - and there are many of these trends. (Standard chord voicings,  popular cadences, diatonic/pentatonic melody lines, basic song structure etc.) It's all been broken before, to a certain extent, so perhaps all that's left to do is to make these changes all the more extreme, or try and tackle a lot of different changes at once. To be progressive in this day and age is pretty difficult, so your best bet is probably to tear any trace of convention to shreds. LOL

    Your comments on Modern Prog may be true, but when you term it as such, I assume you don't encompass modern progressive music?

    And as for progressive mainstream rock, Radiohead and Muse are two perfect examples. I don't dispute it.

    Big smile


     


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    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: eberebe
    Date Posted: February 01 2010 at 13:00
    In how far is the reproduction of formerly progressive elements in any way progressive anymore. I think you need to distinguish between the term itself and the actual meaning of it. Prog music of yesterday is progressive only in respect of its own time, it should not be taken out of context by claiming the very style of that very movement being progressive in itself. People should not break their heads over notions, just be it understood that there cannot be a waterproof definition of 'Prog' since definition is merely an interpretation of experiance and linked to a naturally limited point of view, thus relative. Just enjoy music and don't be jerks Clap  
     
    If i may quote:

     
    "A laudable attempt to nail that slippery Progressive jellyfish to the ceiling sir."


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 02 2010 at 04:35
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Interesting points there. And how difficult it is to attempt to formulate rules which define progressive music by being broken, rather than kept!
     
    Maybe it's not so hard;
     
    I think that "Progressive" is more a sliding scale than a set of definite boundaries which need to be broken.
     
    Fundamentally, the Kenton model works really well for Prog up to the 1970s, if taken simply as a model.
     
    The 1980s are fairly easy to accomodate - the prefix "Neo" is really helpful, because it lets us understand that we are talking about a "New" approach to progressive, which was made to fit in with musical styles of the time.
     
    Hence the complexities of 1970s prog (and the Kenton model) were not as important as lyrical melody and strong rythmic interest - something that Genesis were the progenitors of.
     
    1990s, or Modern Prog appeared to grow out of the 1980s "Neo-psychedelic" scene - a lot of the earliest bands played on the "Alice in Wonderland" circuits, the Magical Mystery Tours (which preceeded the Rave culture) and spontaneous free festivals at which bands like The Ozric Tentacles, Here and Now, Gong and Hawkwind would regularly feature. I remember seeing acts like Pendragon and Solstice at that kind of event.
     
    Most of this music was not, in fact, inspired by Classic Prog at all - but Hawkwind and Pink Floyd were natural influences for the psychedelic sound, and the bands from this time couldn't help but pick up on what some of the other bands did; A preponderance for Dub Reggae influences and harder, more punky rhythms, thanks to the more experimental punk bands that freqented these circuits - particularly  Subhumanz.
     
     
    Oh.... back to the rules that were being broken...
     
    In all of the bands I described from the 1980s "Neo-psych" scene, there was a tendency to do the unexpected, to treat riffs and songs as things to play around with, extend with the main purpose being to create something psychedelically satisfying or interesting.
     
    This included strange instrumentation - flutes, saxes, bongos and other acoustic instruments were common.
     
    Unusual harmonies - often by creating a riff or melody that suggested a well-known one, but changing a few notes to add surprise, and adding dischords, unexpected repetitions, "floaty" instrumental breakdowns and spacey vocalisations.
     
     
    In summary, the basic conventions of popular songs were, sometimes brutally, attacked in what seems a deliberate attempt to "freak the audience out", or break them momentarily out of their comfort zone.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    I probably have little new to contribute on these grounds, but in my opinion, I think that since we are dealing with a way of thinking that blurs all stylistic distinctions, perhaps the rules that have the potential to be and already have been broken are limitless in number, because there are so many aspects of the rock idiom that are generic.

    Taking that a little further, perhaps all it boils down to approaching composition in numerous ways that significantly differ from musical trends - and there are many of these trends. (Standard chord voicings,  popular cadences, diatonic/pentatonic melody lines, basic song structure etc.) It's all been broken before, to a certain extent, so perhaps all that's left to do is to make these changes all the more extreme, or try and tackle a lot of different changes at once. To be progressive in this day and age is pretty difficult, so your best bet is probably to tear any trace of convention to shreds. LOL
     
    Tackling lots of different changes at once would seem to be the progressive approach.
     
    As I said earlier, it's a sliding scale, so really, we're talking about the degree to which music achieves this in order to be demonstrably progressive, as opposed to simply being held to be progressive by fans or journalists.
     
    Originally posted by eberebe eberebe wrote:

    In how far is the reproduction of formerly progressive elements in any way progressive anymore. I think you need to distinguish between the term itself and the actual meaning of it.
     
    That's two questions really.
     
    1. Doing "something different" with all elements of music, as per the Kenton model should theoretically result in progressive music. This approach will always be progressive - these are elements that are permanent in music, not properties of some bygone era.
     
    2. I don't understand what you mean by "the term itself and the actual meaning of it".
     
     
    Originally posted by eberebe eberebe wrote:

    Prog music of yesterday is progressive only in respect of its own time, it should not be taken out of context by claiming the very style of that very movement being progressive in itself. People should not break their heads over notions, just be it understood that there cannot be a waterproof definition of 'Prog' since definition is merely an interpretation of experiance and linked to a naturally limited point of view, thus relative. Just enjoy music and don't be jerks Clap  
     
    People enjoy music in their own ways.
     
    I like to analyse it.
     
    If it can't be analysed very deeply, that doesn't matter - at that point I "just enjoy it" or "just loathe it" or "just become indifferent to it".
     
    But music that lends itself to analysis is lots of fun - and doing the analysis even more so.
     
    Truly progressive music is the best kind to analyse.
     
    In my opinion.
     
    Wink


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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 02 2010 at 10:56
    Yes, I'm not fond of that gut reaction to tell people to 'just enjoy music' whenever things get technical. Analysis is important for people who enjoy it. There's no other reason to do it.

    So, there are various degrees of progressiveness, as you say. But where does this sliding scale begin? And I do hope that critics don't get their hands on this concept for themselves, otherwise we'll just end up with a thousand more musical labels that mean next to nothing.

    Forgive me for my naive approach - my exploration of prog and arguably rock as a whole is only just underway, so I can only draw on a limited amount of experience. This blog attracted my attention though, because as someone who intends to listen to a lot more of this style, it would be nice to start out with a general idea in mind of what to look for. Not that I'll be sucking any enjoyment out of the process, but I'd quite like to be informed of what it truly means to be progressive, regardless of whether I like what I hear or not. In other words, these discussions are useful.

    I would say that it's probably important for listeners to examine below the surface of the music too, because not every progressive band is going to go in for the scare tactics that you mentioned. Rules can be broken in less evident ways than an assault on the popular idiom, I would say, and artists that take that approach could be of high interest also.







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    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 03 2010 at 04:11
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    So, there are various degrees of progressiveness, as you say. But where does this sliding scale begin?
     
    Now this is a question and a half - and the answers are bound to be slipperier than the Prog Jellyfish.
     
    I'll think about this one and come back to it - in all likelihood, there is no literal beginning, and we'll have to consider other aspects in conjunction with the "scale".
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    And I do hope that critics don't get their hands on this concept for themselves, otherwise we'll just end up with a thousand more musical labels that mean next to nothing.
     
    Sadly, I think that's the way things are going anyway - people love to categorise and sub-categorise, and the trouble is, much of this categorisation is done by people with very little real knowledge of what it is they are categorising - it's all done by gut feel, and everyone's gut feel is different.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Forgive me for my naive approach
     
    In my opinion, this is the best approach, and one I try to take as often as I can.
     
    When I pose a question like this, I do not assume that I already have the answers, just some answers and data which might be useful in formulating something stronger.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     - my exploration of prog and arguably rock as a whole is only just underway, so I can only draw on a limited amount of experience. This blog attracted my attention though, because as someone who intends to listen to a lot more of this style, it would be nice to start out with a general idea in mind of what to look for. Not that I'll be sucking any enjoyment out of the process, but I'd quite like to be informed of what it truly means to be progressive, regardless of whether I like what I hear or not. In other words, these discussions are useful.

    I would say that it's probably important for listeners to examine below the surface of the music too, because not every progressive band is going to go in for the scare tactics that you mentioned. Rules can be broken in less evident ways than an assault on the popular idiom, I would say, and artists that take that approach could be of high interest also.
     
    Absolutely - this is exactly where my blog is coming from - and it is a blog, which means it's just a collection of thoughts on a specific subject.
     
    I'm very interested in Progressive music as a whole, and find that digging around in its history tends to throw up some really cool information and surprises, which help shed light on the way it has developed.
     
    I find most Progressive music since the 1990s very difficult to understand, because when I do listen under the surface, most of it conflicts with both my idea of progressive and the many, many definitions available on the Internet (and where else would one look for definitions these days?). This is one reason I'm constantly trying to redefine - or rather, properly define it myself.
     
    Emphatically, I am not attempting to belittle Modern Prog - I know a lot of people enjoy it, and that's very cool, because it keeps interest in the old music alive.
     
    Thanks to the forum aspects, we can use this blog as a discussion point, rather than it simply being one person's pontifications.
     
     
    I've gone O/T a bit - but as I said earlier, I'll think about what we might see as the "beginning of the sliding scale of progressive" - a topic which is fraught with pitfalls, as I consider progressive works by the likes of ABBA...
     
     
     






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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 03 2010 at 10:58
    Good stuff. Could you provide me with some examples of the modern progressive artists that have made progressive music so difficult to bracket in recent times? And in what ways have they done so?

    And of the little I've heard, modern prog serves a very important purpose. The idea of a band taking the roots that classified acts as diverse as King Crimson, Rush, Kansas and Genesis together, and finding what I might describe as a 'common idiom' between them is something that I think is amazing. These bands have converted an attitude into a style of music which can be labelled much more neatly than progressive music. And perhaps throwing in more sophistication into the songwriting (in other words, building on the forefathers' foundations) can serve as a development on its own. Taking that to its logical conclusion, I feel modern prog could potentially cross over to some extent with modern progressive music.

    Oh, and ABBA were undoubtedly innovative. Whilst not progressive ROCK music, I suppose that when discussing the mentality of forward thinking works, stylistic boundaries are irrelevant. After all, this discussion was partially the result of Stan Kenton.


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    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 11 2010 at 08:49
    Thinking about where it "begins", It seems inescapable that "progressive" is a sliding scale that doesn't really begin.
     
    There is no "standard song" - each has defining characteristics that could be applied to any model of "progressiveness", let alone one that has been conveniently and somewhat convincingly laid down by a jazz musician over 60 years ago.
     
    The main problem here is relativity - for any given rock song, you could think of examples which are more or less progressive, with the possible exception of quite a lot of Zappa's work, where you only think in terms of "less progressive than".
     
    One issue I have with some diccussions I've seen recently is the tendency to confuse "different" with "progressive" - and it's a tough call.
     
    The bleak electronic soundscapes of, say, Gary Numan do sound a little progressive, and the way he uses melody, rhythm and harmony all coagulate to form an overall style which stands out - in the same way as many other electro-pop acts which jumped onto the bandwagon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with Kraftwerk as the figurehead act.
     
    Kraftwerk are the truly progressive act in this case, having essentially created the sound and style, and nowhere is the evidence more clear than in their very first album.
     
    The case becomes somewhat cyclic here, as the analogy between the late 1970s electro artists and Neo-Prog is clear.
     
     
    That's just one example of how you can find progressiveness in almost any band or song, if you want to - and that is one of the great things about it.
     
    However, the real joy of progressive music is when you hear the "Real McCoy" - the music that leaves you in absolutely no doubt about its status as adventurous, boundary-pushing and mould-breaking, particularly when you dig into it to understand its mechanics, and discover wonders of musical engineering you'd never dreamed of.
     
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     
    Good stuff. Could you provide me with some examples of the modern progressive artists that have made progressive music so difficult to bracket in recent times? And in what ways have they done so?
     
     
    Well, most of the stuff I've heard, to be honest - and the difficulty for me is not in how to bracket them, because that would imply certain prog tendencies.
     
    The difficulty for me is that when I hear the music of Porcupine Tree and The Flower Kings, for example, I hear standard rock songs with sparkly production and quasi-metal riffs - and nothing else. Just Rock songs, not Prog - so why are either band held up as beacons of modern Prog, when they do not play progressive music?
     

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    And of the little I've heard, modern prog serves a very important purpose. The idea of a band taking the roots that classified acts as diverse as King Crimson, Rush, Kansas and Genesis together, and finding what I might describe as a 'common idiom' between them is something that I think is amazing.
     
    The problem for me is that although they are described as doing this, in actual fact, they do not.  You are right, the idea would be amazing if it actually happened, and I would actively encourage it - but I've yet to hear it happening.
     
    These acts may have listened to the old bands and had inspiration that way, but the music and progressive approach is not the same - there is no commonality.
     
    Pink Floyd and Hawkwind are more commonly drawn on than Crimson, Rush, Kansas or Genesis - none of whom typically feature highly in the musical attributes of most modern bands. I've heard the occasional Spock's Beard song that draws on Crimson - and even Gentle Giant, so there are exceptions - but these are few and far between.
     

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    These bands have converted an attitude into a style of music which can be labelled much more neatly than progressive music.
     
    Have they really though?
     
    How have they done this?
     
    I don't hear the Progressive attitude anywhere, except occasional rare moments. The norm seems to be to abandon the progressive attitude completely and just write simple songs with sound effects and spiffy production.
     
    I don't find the labelling neat or easy - it seems to me that the labelling is entirely misplaced. What have I missed?
     

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    And perhaps throwing in more sophistication into the songwriting (in other words, building on the forefathers' foundations) can serve as a development on its own.
     
    Yes - it could, but that typically does not happen.
     
    Just about everything I've heard, described as Modern Prog, has very little in the way of sophistication in the songwriting - verses and choruses all the way, with yer predictable instrumental bridge (which, OK, tend to drone on longer than most of Deep Purple's, but that in itself isn't enough).
     
    They don't really "buld on the forefather's foundations", they more take some aspects of their sounds and simplify them such that the end result is nothing more than something that sounds a little cleverer than yer basic rock/metal song (if there really is such a thing!), but not much.
     
    On that subject, if you trawl through the back catalogues of many "standard" rock and metal acts, you will discover many, many songs with progressive tendencies. As a shining example, I suggest you listen to the early output of heavy metal warriors Saxon, and prepare for some shocks!
     

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Taking that to its logical conclusion, I feel modern prog could potentially cross over to some extent with modern progressive music.
     
    It should, in order to earn the label "Modern Prog", at the very LEAST be progressive! There seems to be far more progresssive music outside the field of "Modern Prog" than inside it - or maybe I just haven't heard the proper stuff.

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Oh, and ABBA were undoubtedly innovative. Whilst not progressive ROCK music, I suppose that when discussing the mentality of forward thinking works, stylistic boundaries are irrelevant. After all, this discussion was partially the result of Stan Kenton.
     
    Indeed - and that is precisely the conclusion I came to above.
     
    "Progressive" when applied to music begins with the Kenton model at the very top of the tree and works down.
     
    At the point at which the entire model stops applying and only parts of it do, the music could be held to be Progressive Rock Music as opposed to "Prog", if you like. I think this is actually how many make the distinction.
     
    Lower down the scale, where fewer parts of the model apply, and to a lesser extent, the music doesn't stop being progressive - but I think that to most people's ears, it would be "less progressive".
     
    This, as I pointed out, does not stop - you could even listen to Take That and hear one or two elements that might strike you as "progressive".
     
    At this point, we hold a straw man poll - what do we think the "average" Prog listener would think about this specific piece of music?
     
    In the case of Take That, I would expect most to ignore the question altogether as irrelevant, a significant number to guffaw whilst clutching their aching sides, and a few thoughtful ones to say "Actually, you know, when you listen to it carefully..."
     
    In the case of ABBA, I suggest you familiarise yourself with their "Intermezzo", which I believe was on their 3rd album, and then listen to Ekseption, who are in the archives, and ask yourself which is the more progressive of the two.
     
    Most, however, will simply dismiss ABBA on the basis of "Dancing Queen" - a song which is actually very progressive, especially in the tricky area of form, because, like many progressive Beatles numbers, it BEGINS with the chorus.
     
     
    As I said, on the sliding scale of Progressiveness, there is no beginning. Just a plunge into the abyss... Tongue


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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: sealchan
    Date Posted: February 11 2010 at 11:47

    After reading through the discussion above I would definitely vote to keep Prog and Progressive separate...if you are looking for what is progressive that is an open ended "sliding" question and requires an extensive knowledge of the music of the time, etc...but Prog rock and its many sub-genres can be more readily defined.

    Case in point...when I talk about prog rock I want to hold up as examples both of King Crimson's albums In the Court of the Crimson King AND In the Wake of Poseidon.  If I were concerned with "progressive" music, then I would say the first album is progressive and the second is not. 
     
    Actually, my recent thinking has made me realize that while In the Court of the Crimson King could arguably be the first Prog Rock album, I would hesitate to say this unless I pointed out the growing expansion of albums that would qualify as Prog Rock that emerged immediately after this album (including Genesis' Trespass and Yes' The Yes Album and Emerson, Lake and Palmer's debut album).  To me it takes a community to define a genre in that musicians recognize, amongst themselves at the time, a new form or attitude that they want to pick up.  In fact, the similarity is already there in the spread of influence that KC may have sparked in '69-'70 with their album simply combining the various qualities that other bands (Yes, Genesis, ELP) would emulate but in their own unique way.  In this sense a fluid, dynamic genre is born. 
     
    One principle that I remember when it comes to identifying a "type" (in this case, genre) is that the boundaries are always fluid.  In fact, in any community, in this case of  music bands, that "evolves" there are always multiple members of that community (species, genres) who give rise to a new type and not just one.  This is analogous to the idea that there is never a single member of a species in biology.  You can't reproduce if you don't have a compatible member of the species to do that with (by definition).
     
    This makes using the term progressive to describe music and musicians problematic because analogously the more you focus on the single song or album or musician the less they will appear to be unique and the more they will appear to be derivative of their influences.  But if you take a step back and look at the whole clearly changes are taking place.  But where do you most properly assign the progressive element?  In the part (song, musician, producer, etc...) or the whole?
     


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 11 2010 at 12:37
    I can't really speak for The Flower Kings, but in the case of Porcupine Tree, I do understand to a certain extent as to why they are here. Progressive music has often been associated with blurring the boundaries between different genres, and they have been able to merge trancy rock, pop hooks and crunchier metal sections in a striking and interesting way. Their albums have proven to be ambitious compositionally, with more dynamic and textural awareness than many of their contemporaries, plus a certain level of musical competence that far excels the standard of generic rock. I think it's accumalative, really.

    And I picked names out of a hat really, when discussing the idea of creating a prog idiom. Admittedly Pink Floyd is a much more common influence, and I would say Yes has had some impact too. My point really was that this more epic style of writing with instrumental interludes, modal melody and more involved harmonies were first adopted as a way to push the boundaries, and yet now have become attributes which can identify a band as 'prog'. In this sense, you can play in a classic prog vein, surely? The licks might not sound the same, but I could listen to Spock's Beard or Yes thirsting after the same thing. If bands play in odd time or modulate into different keys, are these not common attributes?

    Continuing on from that, if playing in a way that was original thirty years ago fails to be progressive anymore, then calling it modern Prog actually sums it up well, because it gives an indication of the style of music. A KC clone band, for instance, might employ orchestral arrangements and use the same quirky soundscapes in a similar way to its influence, and we could just call it modern Prog and be done with it. Now, let's suppose that a band does this, but transforms it into reggae music - I'd call that progressive. It puts old ideas into a new context, and has just broken a very significant boundary. A stupid example I know, but I feel that what many of these younger groups are doing is taking a style of playing (which was originally very innovative by its own merits) and adapting it to fit a different mould - perhaps within a darker and more aggresive form.

    Now I'm aware that the land of Opeth and Pain of Salvation and so forth is one of which you remain highly sceptical. But to me, what makes them progressive is the fact that they have done just what I have described in a heavier setting. Plus, in terms of sophistication, you may feel that the songwriting has been dummed down, but I personally hear a lot more coherence and better coordination in the more modern compositions, technology and production aside.

    Are you sure modern Prog should be at the very least progressive? If we can happily refer to them as seperate entities, then perhaps one needn't be the subset of another.

    Oh, and I plan to check out Ekseption sometime - I got a recommendation concerning them recently.





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    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 15 2010 at 03:13
    Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

    Case in point...when I talk about prog rock I want to hold up as examples both of King Crimson's albums In the Court of the Crimson King AND In the Wake of Poseidon.  If I were concerned with "progressive" music, then I would say the first album is progressive and the second is not. 

     
    I'm not 100% convinced that "Progressive" has to be taken completely literally - as many have said, there is a large aspect of style to prog.
     
    I would agree that ItWoP is largely in the same style as ItCoTCK, but I don't think that necessarily means it's not a progressive album, and it certainly sounds like a Prog Rock album to me from a few casual hearings.
     
     
     
    Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

    To me it takes a community to define a genre in that musicians recognize, amongst themselves at the time, a new form or attitude that they want to pick up. 
     
    The interesting thing here is that those musicians did not, in fact, call the music Prog, Prog Rock or anything of the sort at the time - this term was applied retrospectively by music journalists (and probably fans too). Robert Fripp is on record as saying he didn't think of his band as being a Prog Rock band - so who is correct?
     
    Originally posted by sealchan sealchan wrote:

    But where do you most properly assign the progressive element?  In the part (song, musician, producer, etc...) or the whole?
     
    As I've been saying all along, I think it's more to do with a progressive model than elements - elements can be real red herrings, like trying to identify species from elements, e.g. it has arms and legs, therefore it is a human being.
     
    We need a bigger overall model for comparison - and usually we would take an album as the "sample" to compare with that model. We can then look for elements which fit parts of the model, look for clues that indicate the same or similar musical goals, environmental factors, attitude (a real can of worms!) and so on.
     
    The important thing to bear in mind is that we're not looking for perfect matches.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Progressive music has often been associated with blurring the boundaries between different genres, and they have been able to merge trancy rock, pop hooks and crunchier metal sections in a striking and interesting way.
     
    Boundary-crossing and striking/interesting music is not necessarily progressive, though!
     
    Yes, there is the association, but it is a single part of progressive music, and also applies to my usual example, ABBA.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     
     
    Their albums have proven to be ambitious compositionally, with more dynamic and textural awareness than many of their contemporaries, plus a certain level of musical competence that far excels the standard of generic rock. I think it's accumalative, really.
     
    Actually, I have listened and found most to NOT be ambitious, compositionally. This is the fact of the matter - there is nothing ambitious about the old Intro/Verse/Chorus/Bridge song structure!
     
    There is also no standard for "generic rock" - this is a mythical entity - apart from the song structure I mentioned above.
     
    The music I have heard has a decidedly average musical competance level that exceeds, perhaps, Beyonce or Nickelback, or the other low-level stuff, but does not compete with tech metal bands like Megadeth, and is certainly nowhere near the same ball park as King Crimson.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    And I picked names out of a hat really, when discussing the idea of creating a prog idiom. Admittedly Pink Floyd is a much more common influence, and I would say Yes has had some impact too. My point really was that this more epic style of writing with instrumental interludes, modal melody and more involved harmonies were first adopted as a way to push the boundaries, and yet now have become attributes which can identify a band as 'prog'. In this sense, you can play in a classic prog vein, surely?
     
    This is what I mean about elements being real red herrings.
     
    Most fans of modern prog when questioned about the genre's credibility talk initially about the "roots in the classic bands", but, as here, back down immediately when challenged for direct comparisons - there are none, of course, except the "simpler" bands, like Floyd.
     
    You are right that the elements you mention were first adopted as a way to push boundaries - and now you are fully agreeing with me that the point is no longer to push the boundaries, but simply to use the elements to sound a little proggy - and that is why Modern Prog generally sounds hollow to me.
     
    It is possible to play in a classic prog vein, but not in this manner - and, be honest, the music doesn't actually sound anything like classic prog, does it?
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Now, let's suppose that a band does this, but transforms it into reggae music - I'd call that progressive. It puts old ideas into a new context, and has just broken a very significant boundary. A stupid example I know,
     
    Not at all - have you heard Easy Star All-Stars? Their covers of DSoTM and Sgt Pepper are astonishing.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     
    but I feel that what many of these younger groups are doing is taking a style of playing (which was originally very innovative by its own merits) and adapting it to fit a different mould - perhaps within a darker and more aggresive form.
     
     
    To me and MANY others, prog is not just about the style of playing, but about the compositional style.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Now I'm aware that the land of Opeth and Pain of Salvation and so forth is one of which you remain highly sceptical. But to me, what makes them progressive is the fact that they have done just what I have described in a heavier setting. Plus, in terms of sophistication, you may feel that the songwriting has been dummed down, but I personally hear a lot more coherence and better coordination in the more modern compositions, technology and production aside.
     
     
    More coherence comes from simpler, non-Prog song structures, and better co-ordination comes from the music being far less wild and predictable - e.g no longer adhering to the progressive model.

     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Are you sure modern Prog should be at the very least progressive?
     
     
    Um... yes, and so, I think, would any self-respecting Prog fan.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    If we can happily refer to them as seperate entities, then perhaps one needn't be the subset of another.
     
    But then we have a problem with 100s of non-prog bands on a prog music site...
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Oh, and I plan to check out Ekseption sometime - I got a recommendation concerning them recently.
     
    They're amusing once or twice, certainly Wink


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    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: MaxerJ
    Date Posted: February 15 2010 at 04:36
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I'm still unsure as to what qualifies to be progressive, but I think a good basic rule of thumb is assessing whether the music in question defies the traditional approach of writing rock songs, be it texturally, conceptually, in terms of harmony, melody, layering or structural form. There are so many different ways of being original - the choice of guitar tone or the use of interesting vocal phrasing can be enough to be distinct, but being progressive seems to take it further, and strip away from the confines of standard rock music. Mixing up the bigger picture, in other words.



    This. I was watching Star Wars Episode V, after watching the new movies... and although i never noticed before, now I can see the difference: the attention to detail in plot and style in the older movies is much better than the newer ones... I think this is the same thing in music: it's lots of little things that make music - progressive or not - great.


    Pretty much everyone on this website knows exactly what 'prog' and 'progressive is... when they hear it. How do we know? I'm still not sure... I would still like to stress the difference between 'prog' and 'progressive'... even if i can't say what it is.Confused


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    Godspeed, You Bolero Enthusiasts
    'Prog is all about leaving home...' - Moshkito


    Posted By: MaxerJ
    Date Posted: February 15 2010 at 04:43
    P.S. I still think if we are going to actually take this music we love seriously, we have to accept the good with the bad, and not just say something is progressive if we like it (which i know many are tempted to do). Or maybe we could do this, but we'd have to be really good at it.


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    Godspeed, You Bolero Enthusiasts
    'Prog is all about leaving home...' - Moshkito


    Posted By: ExittheLemming
    Date Posted: February 15 2010 at 05:13
    Excellent thread certainly, although I confess to having a very flimsy grasp of some of the more technical aspects of the discussion.

    I've always been struck by how many of the 1st generation of proggers came from either an R'n'B, or to a lesser but significant extent, Jazz background. e.g. Graham Bond, Arthur Brown, Jon Lord, Rod Argent, Colosseum, the Nice, ELP, Robert Fripp (played in a Bournemouth Jazz Dance band), Brian Auger, Jon Anderson (the Warriors), Pink Floyd, Moody Blues etc. Similarly, the origins of many RPI bands are steeped in 60's R'n'B.

    There could be a (very simplistic) case made to suggest that Prog, in its first incarnation, drew predominantly from those embarking from the R'n'B/Jazz platform e.g. I can hear this lineage even in music as wildly disparate as In the Court of the Crimson King, Days of Future Passed, Oracle and Odyssey, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack and even latterly (gulp) the Yes Album. That is not to say that if you pan out the progressive elements of the aforementioned artists you are left with a little nugget of R'n'B, but that's where the pulse or the rock has its source IMO

    Given that there does not appear to be a contemporary musical flavour of sufficient dominance that R'n'B enjoyed in the early/mid sixties to qualify as 'common ground', is this perhaps the missing ingredient that renders so-called modern prog but a pale pastiche/homage ? Marketing has now splintered contemporary musical trends into such factionalised 'brand' tastes, that the likelihood of us ever arriving at a genre that would prove a fertile launch pad for the Prog of the future appears distinctly remote.

    I used to think that the 'new prog' would stem from the development of the post-punk bands who appeared circa 1979, (Cure, Banshees, XTC, Talking Heads, Television) but this just never seemed to materialise or was stalled by the arrival of engineered Grunge ?

    Divide and rule is still a very effective strategy for the corporate world it seems...





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    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 16 2010 at 10:46
    I think we’re getting to the heart of our disagreements here, Cert. Yes, boundary crossing is not the be all and end all of progressive music, but so many bands of the 70s took their cue from the blending of styles.  Lots of the big names borrowed from classical and jazz styles heavily to achieve a more technically advanced, eclectic and experimental nature. If it were not for the fact that they incorporated the drive of rock music into their compositions, there would probably be little original content remaining, as all extremes have been explored by the avant-garde musicians gone before them. Yet we call it progressive probably because it sounded so much more advanced from the bulk of popular music being written at that time. Do you not agree that this foundation of crossing the border was intrinsic to progressive rock’s inception? And so it continues, as there are a great number of ways in which different styles can be combined. Whilst only an element of prog, I believe it certainly adds to a band’s progressive credibility.

    Since we’re discussing a particular band here, upon reflection I do confess that much of Porcupine Tree’s earlier work was lacking any real innovation, but their last two albums are certainly more ambitious and this age old structure does not detract from that. Consider the many composers that wrote in sonata form - were they confined purely to convention, simply because of ABA? In the same way, you can easily push the envelope within a typical song structure - I hardly think that the use of a verse and a chorus restricts a band’s creativity. You can’t possibly say that structural content inherently makes a band progressive or otherwise, especially considering that the idea of boundary crossing cannot either, the latter being a far more apparent difference between the progressive and the ordinary. Mind you, I’m not saying that you ARE in fact claiming that straying from structural confines is always progressive. I’m merely expressing my opinion that neither of these two ideas mentioned here are sufficient by their own merits to qualify a musician/group as the real deal, as you may or may not agree.

    I was vague in my reference to ’generic rock’, but I still claim that the band’s instrumental ability is notable, and above the average level of proficiency. Despite being a huge fan of Megadeth, I cannot begin to entertain the idea that Samuel Gars or Nick Menza match the widely revered technique of Gavin Harrison. I feel the drummer to be in an entirely different universe. Additionally, although not as fast, Edwin’s articulation strikes me as display of superiority technically to Ellefson. I would also be willing to bet that David would find it difficult to hold his own in the fierce polyrhythmic and irregular grooves that have graced more contemporary PT music. And whilst Dave Mustaine is clearly a more technically able guitarist, his picking technique quite frankly looks uncomfortable, and Steven’s alternate picking rate is highly impressive. When weighing these ideas up, I feel that Porcupine Tree may well have greater instrumental competence than you give them credit.  

    I still feel that although I have a limited knowledge of modern Prog, portions of which I have heard do in fact resemble the greats. Spock’s Beard sounds like Yes and Dream Theater reminds me of Rush. Besides, if you take far more informed opinions than my own, it is very common for older bands to be referenced in reviews discussing modern albums. There must be something there.

    And how does coherence arise from simpler compositions? I’ve heard transitions between totally differing sections of a piece laced together beautifully to make the piece sound all the more elaborate and better defined as a whole. A lack of coherence, whilst sometimes admittedly proves to be effective, can also lead to disjointed, convoluted and entirely unmusical presentations of ideas, and I don’t feel it should be a feature associated solely with straightforward rock.

    We also don’t need to worry about all those non prog bands to which you refer - this website encompasses  music under every corner of both the progressive and prog umbrella, so I can’t think of one artist mentioned so far that doesn’t belong. And as someone who humbly refers to himself as a fan of the style, I am happy with the idea of ‘retro-prog’ not adhering to the progressive model. After all, this whole matter isn’t exactly about fitting in.

    Please clear up my juvenile misconceptions. LOL

    -------------
    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 03:17
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    I've always been struck by how many of the 1st generation of proggers came from either an R'n'B, or to a lesser but significant extent, Jazz background. e.g. Graham Bond, Arthur Brown, Jon Lord, Rod Argent, Colosseum, the Nice, ELP, Robert Fripp (played in a Bournemouth Jazz Dance band), Brian Auger, Jon Anderson (the Warriors), Pink Floyd, Moody Blues etc. Similarly, the origins of many RPI bands are steeped in 60's R'n'B.

    There could be a (very simplistic) case made to suggest that Prog, in its first incarnation, drew predominantly from those embarking from the R'n'B/Jazz platform e.g. I can hear this lineage even in music as wildly disparate as In the Court of the Crimson King, Days of Future Passed, Oracle and Odyssey, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack and even latterly (gulp) the Yes Album. That is not to say that if you pan out the progressive elements of the aforementioned artists you are left with a little nugget of R'n'B, but that's where the pulse or the rock has its source IMO
     
    These are absolutely the roots to the first generation  - and, as you say, jazz was a significant element - probably the crucial element that made the music inherently progressive and appear to adhere so strongly to Kenton's model.
     
    I'm willing to bet that most Prog bands hadn't even heard of this model, and it's a complete co-incidence that most Prog of that time has so many striking similarities - yet the influence of this model appears to mark out the more progressive bands from the less progressive ones  - ie, the more closely a band "adheres" to it, the higher up the Prog tree we can see them, with Gentle Giant, The Nice/ELP, King  Crimson and Frank Zappa perched right at the top.
     
    The technicalities aren't partiocularly hard - I'm more than happy to explain any of them in more depth / less words, whichever is preferred.
     

    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:


    Given that there does not appear to be a contemporary musical flavour of sufficient dominance that R'n'B enjoyed in the early/mid sixties to qualify as 'common ground', is this perhaps the missing ingredient that renders so-called modern prog but a pale pastiche/homage ?
     
    I don't think so, I'm fairly certain it's because jazz and classical music have slipped a long way off the radar, so bands and fans generally do not have an appreciation of those more elaborate musical forms, both of which underpinned the early evolution of Prog.
     
    The aspects that stand out to present generations are simply elements -
     
    For example; The modal harmonies and odd time signatures of jazz, without understanding what makes jazz tick (I don't need to tell you that it's a LOT more than the harmonies!
     
    Example 2; A much lower level but more tightly focussed understanding of music theory, coupled with more precise playing technique, and citations from Classical or early prog bands music.
     
    Both of these examples illustrate what I am frequently accused of doing; Attempting to break the music down into its component elements, then looking at the parts and creating something "new" through re-assembly using only a few of the components.
     
    The explanation of why this is not progressive is a long one...
     
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    Marketing has now splintered contemporary musical trends into such factionalised 'brand' tastes, that the likelihood of us ever arriving at a genre that would prove a fertile launch pad for the Prog of the future appears distinctly remote.
     
    This looks like something that's covered in Dean's excellent ongoing blog " http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=58 - Please Self Release Me " - check it out, if you haven't already.
     
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:


    I used to think that the 'new prog' would stem from the development of the post-punk bands who appeared circa 1979, (Cure, Banshees, XTC, Talking Heads, Television) but this just never seemed to materialise or was stalled by the arrival of engineered Grunge ?

     
    Actually, I think it did arise from this scene!
     
    XTc, particularly are a great favourite of mine. I find it very telling that John Leckie, producer of their early albums, went on to produce Radiohead and Muse.
     
    One of the most important acts of that time to me were The Stranglers, who seemed to stomp on musical boundaries, with an artistic approach that seems rooted in The Doors, who in turn were arguably the first progressive rock act (not "Prog", of course... or were they? Wink).
     
    Oddly enough, two other bands of the immediate post-Prog and post-Punk era, crucially influential on how some aspects of Modern Progressive Music would develop after Neo were The Scorpions and The Clash respectively... discuss LOL


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 09:39
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    I've always been struck by how many of the 1st generation of proggers came from either an R'n'B, or to a lesser but significant extent, Jazz background. e.g. Graham Bond, Arthur Brown, Jon Lord, Rod Argent, Colosseum, the Nice, ELP, Robert Fripp (played in a Bournemouth Jazz Dance band), Brian Auger, Jon Anderson (the Warriors), Pink Floyd, Moody Blues etc. Similarly, the origins of many RPI bands are steeped in 60's R'n'B.

    There could be a (very simplistic) case made to suggest that Prog, in its first incarnation, drew predominantly from those embarking from the R'n'B/Jazz platform e.g. I can hear this lineage even in music as wildly disparate as In the Court of the Crimson King, Days of Future Passed, Oracle and Odyssey, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack and even latterly (gulp) the Yes Album. That is not to say that if you pan out the progressive elements of the aforementioned artists you are left with a little nugget of R'n'B, but that's where the pulse or the rock has its source IMO

    Given that there does not appear to be a contemporary musical flavour of sufficient dominance that R'n'B enjoyed in the early/mid sixties to qualify as 'common ground', is this perhaps the missing ingredient that renders so-called modern prog but a pale pastiche/homage ?

    It wasn't until jazz merged with R&B that interesting things in a Prog context happened. Jazz itself had little influence on Prog although there's something you could call space jazz delivered by Sun Ra (We travel the Spaceways), Herbie Hancock (The Egg) and Soft Machine (Orientasian). 
     
    Examples: (a) Soft Machine were going nowhere until they mixed their jazz with R&B; (b) Dave Brubeck added R&B in jazz on Time Out very successfully; (c) Herbie Hancock achieved great things on Empyrean Isles but only because he mixed jazz and R&B.
     
    Perhaps more interestingly, R&B mixed with folk and R'n'R (later rock) to form US Psyche which in turn led to Space Rock. For instance, The Animals mixed R&B (think Booker T. & the MG's and their Green Onions, Chinese Checkers and Mo' Onions) with folk on House of the rising sun and developed it further in the following years (We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It's My Life) until Jefferson Airplane took over (High Flyin' Bird and on).
     
    Then you had R&B mixing with rock'n'roll, but that's another story (involving The Beatles).


    Posted By: MaxerJ
    Date Posted: February 17 2010 at 19:12
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


     I am happy with the idea of ‘retro-prog’ not adhering to the progressive model. After all, this whole matter isn’t exactly about fitting in.



    Clap maybe we should just take the concept of 'historicising' music - Yes/Crimson (GONG!) were amazingly progressive for thier time, so we should view their music in light of the historical circumstances.


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    Godspeed, You Bolero Enthusiasts
    'Prog is all about leaving home...' - Moshkito


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 18 2010 at 03:11
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    I think we’re getting to the heart of our disagreements here, Cert. Yes, boundary crossing is not the be all and end all of progressive music, but so many bands of the 70s took their cue from the blending of styles.  Lots of the big names borrowed from classical and jazz styles heavily to achieve a more technically advanced, eclectic and experimental nature.
     
    Of course - and one could easily argue that this is the nature of Progressive Rock.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    If it were not for the fact that they incorporated the drive of rock music into their compositions, there would probably be little original content remaining, as all extremes have been explored by the avant-garde musicians gone before them.
     
    No - that argument doesn't hold;
     
    The musicians didn't incorporate the drive of rock music into their compositions, the music was fundamentally rock, and other types of music were incorporated into it - it's not a subtle difference, in other words, it's the exact opposite of what you're saying.
     
    Just because avant-garde musicians had explored particular areas, it doesn't mean that they had done everything, and it's not true to say that they'd explored all extremes
     
    There was plenty of "original content", whatever that means (one could easily argue that there is no such thing, of course), but remember that Progressive Rock was a rapid evolution (part of the meaning of "Progressive"), not a sudden explosion of 100% unique music.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Yet we call it progressive probably because it sounded so much more advanced from the bulk of popular music being written at that time. Do you not agree that this foundation of crossing the border was intrinsic to progressive rock’s inception? And so it continues, as there are a great number of ways in which different styles can be combined. Whilst only an element of prog, I believe it certainly adds to a band’s progressive credibility.
     
    Hang on - are we talking about a foundation or a simple element? Wink
     
    This looks more like a build up to a separate argument by laying down a somewhat confused premise.
     
    This is why I took a model which is straightforward and as descriptive as it is prescriptive - and probably full of co-incidence, but the point of a model is that it works to whatever extent it needs to. Reality is allowed to deviate from it, but up to a point - and that point is the undefinable point at which "Progressive" begins. The model is the ultimate aspiration.
     
     
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:



    Since we’re discussing a particular band here, upon reflection I do confess that much of Porcupine Tree’s earlier work was lacking any real innovation, but their last two albums are certainly more ambitious and this age old structure does not detract from that.
     
    We're not actually discussing Porcupine Tree... but I will check out their last two albums. Wink
     
    Obviously, music can be ambitious in aspects other than form - but it is striking that the Classic Prog bands seemed to like playing with form as much as any other fundamental element of music, as per the model.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Consider the many composers that wrote in sonata form - were they confined purely to convention, simply because of ABA?
     
     
    Oh come on!
     
    Sonata Form isn't ABA, although I see what you're getting at, and not all composers wrote in Sonata form 100% of the time - in fact almost none did.
     
    It's not alternatively known as "First Movement Form" without reason, and the bulk of Sonatas, Symphonies and other works using Sonata Form have 3 movements - many have more, and some have less.
     
    Just from this, we can see clearly that composers were not "Confined by convention", it just happened that Sonata Form was a very popular framework within which to compose.
     
    It's also a fact that the tigher the framework you impose on your music, the freer you can be with the music itself. Compare Beethoven's " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovDGcMtkBx0 - Pathetique " and " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWJVstOQBD8 - Moonlight Sonata "s, to use 2 very famous examples.
     
    Consider also Pink Floyd's "Saucerful of Secrets" (the song), which has a carefully worked out framework in the style of an architectural blueprint (3 of the Floyd were architecture students) - yet it's one of the loosest sounding pieces ever written, as well as being one of the most influential.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    In the same way, you can easily push the envelope within a typical song structure - I hardly think that the use of a verse and a chorus restricts a band’s creativity.
     
     
    No, of course not - but the existence of a typical song structure immediately makes a piece sound more like a song (oddly enough) than one which experiments with structure.
     
    It doesn't restrict creativity, but it does lessen the chance of the piece being inherently progressive by a significant factor.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    You can’t possibly say that structural content inherently makes a band progressive or otherwise, especially considering that the idea of boundary crossing cannot either, the latter being a far more apparent difference between the progressive and the ordinary. Mind you, I’m not saying that you ARE in fact claiming that straying from structural confines is always progressive. I’m merely expressing my opinion that neither of these two ideas mentioned here are sufficient by their own merits to qualify a musician/group as the real deal, as you may or may not agree.
     
    Indeed - the use of any single element, or even combinations is not enough in themselves - but they are good pointers. It's not so much what is done as how it's done.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I was vague in my reference to ’generic rock’, but I still claim that the band’s instrumental ability is notable, and above the average level of proficiency.
     
    Are you talking about Porcupine Tree again, or Progressive Rock in general?
     
    What is this "average level of proficiency" - is there such a thing?
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Despite being a huge fan of Megadeth, I cannot begin to entertain the idea that Samuel Gars or Nick Menza match the widely revered technique of Gavin Harrison. I feel the drummer to be in an entirely different universe. Additionally, although not as fast, Edwin’s articulation strikes me as display of superiority technically to Ellefson. I would also be willing to bet that David would find it difficult to hold his own in the fierce polyrhythmic and irregular grooves that have graced more contemporary PT music. And whilst Dave Mustaine is clearly a more technically able guitarist, his picking technique quite frankly looks uncomfortable, and Steven’s alternate picking rate is highly impressive. When weighing these ideas up, I feel that Porcupine Tree may well have greater instrumental competence than you give them credit.  
     
    Technical competence is not core to progressive rock, although helpful.
     
    Technical is actually different to Progressive - although, of course, it's possible for the two to be the same, and it's highly likely that a composer of Progessive Rock will have a relatively high technical ability.
     
    For example, Watchtower practically invented technical metal, but the underlying music is simply heavy metal.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I still feel that although I have a limited knowledge of modern Prog, portions of which I have heard do in fact resemble the greats. Spock’s Beard sounds like Yes and Dream Theater reminds me of Rush. Besides, if you take far more informed opinions than my own, it is very common for older bands to be referenced in reviews discussing modern albums. There must be something there.
     
    I haven't heard it yet - perhaps if you provided specific examples of songs and the classic songs they remind you of?
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    And how does coherence arise from simpler compositions?
     
    Easy - the simpler the constructions, the easier it is to make the piece feel coherent. It's much, much harder to do that with elaborate compositions, which can often sound simply lengthy and comprised of disjointed sections.
     
    Consider again "Saucerful of Secrets" by Pink Floyd.
     
    Then consider the many attempts to replicate it - or at least write something similar in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acGNlANCK-s - "Black Mass - An Electric Storm in Hell" by White Noise springs to mind.
     
    Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus were great electronic music composers, yet this piece seems slung together and disorderly - and it's the longest on the album "An Electric Storm". It's still astonishing, especially on headphones - I 100% recommend it!
     
    The most coherent piece is the simplest - " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spKSnkwwu6c&feature=related - Love Without Sound ", which is an astonishing progressive masterpiece of music. Trip Hop over 20 years before its "invention".
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    I’ve heard transitions between totally differing sections of a piece laced together beautifully to make the piece sound all the more elaborate and better defined as a whole.
     
    ...and so have I - but these tend to be the minority. "Echoes" springs to mind, as does "Supper's Ready".
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     A lack of coherence, whilst sometimes admittedly proves to be effective, can also lead to disjointed, convoluted and entirely unmusical presentations of ideas, and I don’t feel it should be a feature associated solely with straightforward rock.
    Hmm - not sure what you're saying here.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    We also don’t need to worry about all those non prog bands to which you refer - this website encompasses  music under every corner of both the progressive and prog umbrella, so I can’t think of one artist mentioned so far that doesn’t belong. And as someone who humbly refers to himself as a fan of the style, I am happy with the idea of ‘retro-prog’ not adhering to the progressive model. After all, this whole matter isn’t exactly about fitting in.

    Please clear up my juvenile misconceptions. LOL
     
    No - you're right, this blog is not at all about whether bands fit in or not, it's a discussion of Progressive Music, and most recently, specifically about where "Progressive" begins.
     
    Examples would, of course, be very useful, especially in the context of Modern Prog - where it seems to me to have become a mere style of standard rock rather than anything inherently progressive. In which case, I can't help wonder why such music should be filed alongside music which IS inherently progressive.
     
    Help me understand this LOL


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: February 19 2010 at 12:04
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    It wasn't until jazz merged with R&B that interesting things in a Prog context happened. Jazz itself had little influence on Prog although there's something you could call space jazz delivered by Sun Ra (We travel the Spaceways), Herbie Hancock (The Egg) and Soft Machine (Orientasian). 
     
    Examples: (a) Soft Machine were going nowhere until they mixed their jazz with R&B; (b) Dave Brubeck added R&B in jazz on Time Out very successfully; (c) Herbie Hancock achieved great things on Empyrean Isles but only because he mixed jazz and R&B.
     
    I'm surptised noone objected to this Shocked. Zappa's Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin attests to the opposite. It even has "Canterbury" sections - before Soft Machine delivered anything near that!!
     
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    Perhaps more interestingly, R&B mixed with folk and R'n'R (later rock) to form US Psyche which in turn led to Space Rock. For instance, The Animals mixed R&B (think Booker T. & the MG's and their Green Onions, Chinese Checkers and Mo' Onions) with folk on House of the rising sun and developed it further in the following years (We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It's My Life) until Jefferson Airplane took over (High Flyin' Bird and on).
     
    And no objections to this?! Ermm


    Posted By: Hopix
    Date Posted: February 19 2010 at 15:30
    I thought Prog was just a abbreviation of Progressive?


    Posted By: rogerthat
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 02:36
    Great topic and I agree with most of the things Cert1fied has said.  I think the moment people start saying of a genre,"It's not great, but f***, it's *insert genre name*" you know it's become stale because it's now supposed to sound like something instead of evolving.  What still confounds me is if I, who am musically unschooled, can grasp the difference in the compositional approach between prog in the 70s and modern prog, surely musicians would be able to. So if it's a deliberate approach, what could possibly be the motivation for using it...in what way would it make sense, that is to say, because it is often greatly disagreeable with me.  For instance, Anglagard...I dislike it when themes are abandoned seemingly at random without developing them satisfactorily and when the themes that follow don't connect and instead jar.  I am just describing it as I perceive it when I listen to it, if there are flaws in my notion, please excuse me. Embarrassed


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 08:09
    I’m sinking like a stone here… Never mind, I’m enjoying myself. Big smile

    Upon consideration, it is inevitable of course, that the music was fundamentally rock and other influences were secondary to that foundation. What I was trying to articulate however, was that through years of musical exploration gone before the age of rock music, all the basic building blocks had undergone extensive experimentation. Melody, harmony, rhythm, texture and form were all subjects of innovation for many hundreds of years, so when the idea of progressive rock rolled around, I question that the early bands were able to produce music that presented brand new ways of varying the musical elements. In other words, these bands were not revolutionising in counterpoint or harmony as far as the history of music was concerned, because the avenues had already been so vigorously explored. Therefore, I feel that what made this music progressive was the context of rock. Whilst many of the choices made by leaders such as King Crimson were a novelty as far as rock was concerned, the bigger picture would probably reveal that little was entirely new. This was all I meant by the red herring of ‘original content’ - I did not intend to insinuate that the motifs and riffs were ripped off, if I gave that impression.

    I should have stated that a lot of my argument was directed in arguing for Porcupine Tree’s progressive attitude. Just to clarify, I see the blurring of boundaries very much as an element, but also one of the reasons why progressive rock came to light - a foundation of some description, as it can in some ways reflect the nature of classical and jazz. My little rant, directed at the idea of blurring boundaries being so important, was mainly in Porcupine Tree’s interest, and I was only to use that as a stepping stone to the questioning of form. Perhaps some of this deviation is best saved for a discussion some other time?

    I exaggerated my parallels with classical music, but all I really wanted to communicate was the ‘popular framework’ did not restrict creativity then, and nor should a popular song structure now. As it happens we agree on this to some extent anyway. Out of interest, why do you think it is that a more rigid structure allows for greater creativity?

    I am aware of the difference between technical ability and progressiveness, thanks to discovering a lot of technical death metal through friends - highly impressive instrumental skill, but no innovation as far as I can hear.

    Have you heard ‘The Kindness of Strangers?’ The track ‘June’ evokes a very Yes - like feel, in my opinion. Someone remarked a similar comparison to me independently upon hearing the track, allowing me to feel that this was somewhat more justified. And the instrumental section in ‘Metropolis Pt 1’ screams Rush at me. These examples only go as far as the vein in which these bands play - not specific licks. It’s the way these compositions are arranged and presented - more of the ‘how’ over ‘what’ argument.

    Reading back my little comment on coherence made me sound rather ‘convoluted’ - such hypocrisy! Allow me to refine my thoughts - I find a lack of coherence to be something that is unmusical, because the ideas bear less relation to one another if they are haphazardly linked. Is it abnormal of me to be willing to compromise that more ‘wild’ feel for something that flows a little more easily?

    It would be difficult for me to help you understand why we have such an assortment of bands on this website, as I have been responsible for none of their admissions, and I am still trying to adapt my ideas about the true meaning of being progressive. Ultimately, I don’t feel qualified to speak, and all my questioning so far has not been the result of a solidified opinion, but something that aspires to understand.

    To summarise my thoughts, I don’t think that simplicity of form, technicality, and coherence make or break progressive music, nor do any combination of the three. The thing is, I feel that you and I actually agree on quite a lot of things, but as my ideas are still in a fairly embryonic state, I still have much shaping to do, which I feel these discussions are helping. I feel it’s time for me to reread a few ideas mentioned in the blog for consolidation purposes.

    -------------
    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: ExittheLemming
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 08:25
    A lot to take in there certainly. I think it's probably true that there is considerably more 'fresh coinage' and completely new musical ideas and complexity in most contemporary classical than there ever was in Progressive Rock. Like you say, it was the hitherto untried combination of existing musical elements that was so revolutionary. I would imagine that if you approached a record company in say 1965 and said you had combined the harmonic progressions in the Karelia Suite under a rock beat and improvised a jazz sextet over that you would have been either incarcerated or told it was commercial suicide. It's a shame that the sort of receptive audience and adventurous musical climate that must have existed for Prog to be possible is unlikely to ever appear again. Or am I just being defeatist and overly pessimistic ?

    -------------


    Posted By: rogerthat
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 09:11
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    It's a shame that the sort of receptive audience and adventurous musical climate that must have existed for Prog to be possible is unlikely to ever appear again. Or am I just being defeatist and overly pessimistic ?


    No, I don't think so at least Tongue...either the musical climate was vastly different from now or there were some socio-cultural factors at work which aided the reception of such adventurous music.   Or maybe...I think Dean has said something like this before, correct me if I am wrong, the adventure is not in prog but other pastures.  I mean though Muse are on the archives, there's always debate over whether they are really prog or not.  And I chalk that up with the packed crowds at Wembley to which they perform....maybe there's some sort of audience even today for adventurous music, just not the prog audience, who may have somewhere got a little too attached to odd time signatures and synthesizers.  Dead


    Posted By: ExittheLemming
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 09:43
    Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    It's a shame that the sort of receptive audience and adventurous musical climate that must have existed for Prog to be possible is unlikely to ever appear again. Or am I just being defeatist and overly pessimistic ?


    No, I don't think so at least Tongue...either the musical climate was vastly different from now or there were some socio-cultural factors at work which aided the reception of such adventurous music.   Or maybe...I think Dean has said something like this before, correct me if I am wrong, the adventure is not in prog but other pastures.  I mean though Muse are on the archives, there's always debate over whether they are really prog or not.  And I chalk that up with the packed crowds at Wembley to which they perform....maybe there's some sort of audience even today for adventurous music, just not the prog audience, who may have somewhere got a little too attached to odd time signatures and synthesizers.  Dead


    Yep, that's a valid point as we may be looking in the wrong place and for the wrong things for what we habitually deem to be truly progressive music. I've never heard Muse so can't comment but I've long harboured the suspicion that what will come to be recognised as the prog of the noughties is unlikely to resemble the 70's prog in any shape or form and will only earn its plaudits retrospectively.


    -------------


    Posted By: rogerthat
    Date Posted: February 20 2010 at 09:47
    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:



    Yep, that's a valid point as we may be looking in the wrong place and for the wrong things for what we habitually deem to be truly progressive music. I've never heard Muse so can't comment but I've long harboured the suspicion that what will come to be recognised as the prog of the noughties is unlikely to resemble the 70's prog in any shape or form and will only earn its plaudits retrospectively.


    Truly progressive music should not sound like 70s prog at all on the surface, the similarity should only be in the compositional approach.  If it is progressive, it should evolve and take in influences from contemporary, emerging forms of music which is evident in Muse's music or Radiohead's. They may not quite bring Larks Tongue In Aspic to mind in terms of the compositional approach, but they are much further down that road than say Flower Kings to my ears. 


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 22 2010 at 04:49
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    I’m sinking like a stone here… Never mind, I’m enjoying myself. Big smile
     
    I have to say that the idea here is not to "demolish the opponent", but rather to dig deeper into where the "Progressiveness" is.
     
    The main issue seesm to be that a wide variety of claims are made by the various definitions of Modern Prog that simply are not true - which is the only reason I was able to find holes in the arguments in the first place, not that Modern Prog isn't somehow progressive.
     
    In other words, the main fault is not in the music, but in how the music is widely and incorrectly described!

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    ...Therefore, I feel that what made this music progressive was the context of rock....
     
    Hence "Progressive Rock" - let's keep the context here, as we are not looking for "original", "unique" or anything of the sort.
     
    The model described earlier is a relatively straightforward way of describing progressive music, as described over 20 years earlier by a jazz musician.
     
    It's really cool that we can listen to Classic Prog and apply the same model with varying results - but always with results.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:



    I should have stated that a lot of my argument was directed in arguing for Porcupine Tree’s progressive attitude. (...) Perhaps some of this deviation is best saved for a discussion some other time?
     
    I think this is worth digging into further here - a specific album would be a good place to start.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I exaggerated my parallels with classical music, but all I really wanted to communicate was the ‘popular framework’ did not restrict creativity then, and nor should a popular song structure now. As it happens we agree on this to some extent anyway. Out of interest, why do you think it is that a more rigid structure allows for greater creativity?
     
    Experience, mainly.
     
    That and the plain fact that most writers find it very hard to compose outside of the comfort zone of an A-B-A-B-C-A-B structure at all; The wealth of musical varieties that rely purely on this ancient form is testament to how creative musicians can be within this extraordinarily limited framework.
     
    Even slight modifications to it can result in something that sounds fresh and progressive - the most typical, obviously, is to extend the "C" section by adding pseudo "D", "E", "F" sections and so on. By inserting a completely new idea, you can create the feeling of swooping off into new musical territory - but this can end up a simple cheap gimmick, especially if there's no linking material.
     
    In these days of computer sequencing, this is the easiest thing in the wold to do, which underlines my feeling of it being a cheap way to write music, and not progressive, but an easy trick for someone with few musical ideas.
     
    If you create the structure before you write the music, it is much easier to "paint by numbers" within the resultant modules - but at the same time, it is also much easier to create a sprawling mess with little coherence.
     
    The artistry of progressive rock lies in the ability to join multiple strands of musical thought together into a single entity - to produce a musical journey rather than a simple song, which is what the song structure inevitably produces.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    I am aware of the difference between technical ability and progressiveness, thanks to discovering a lot of technical death metal through friends - highly impressive instrumental skill, but no innovation as far as I can hear.

    Have you heard ‘The Kindness of Strangers?’ The track ‘June’ evokes a very Yes - like feel, in my opinion. Someone remarked a similar comparison to me independently upon hearing the track, allowing me to feel that this was somewhat more justified. And the instrumental section in ‘Metropolis Pt 1’ screams Rush at me. These examples only go as far as the vein in which these bands play - not specific licks. It’s the way these compositions are arranged and presented - more of the ‘how’ over ‘what’ argument.
     
    I agree entirely with the "how" over "what" sentiment - I don't know "The Kindness of Strangers" - I will investigate.
     
    Can you be more specific about which Yes piece is invoked, and how?
     
    As for Dream Theater, I am well aware of how they took specific licks and compositional structure styles from certain bands and modified them very slightly... Don't really want to get into an argument about them, but again, any specific examples and evidence would be cool.
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Reading back my little comment on coherence made me sound rather ‘convoluted’ - such hypocrisy! Allow me to refine my thoughts - I find a lack of coherence to be something that is unmusical, because the ideas bear less relation to one another if they are haphazardly linked. Is it abnormal of me to be willing to compromise that more ‘wild’ feel for something that flows a little more easily?
     
    Absolutely not - although I think the context is somewhat lost here.
     
    As I said above, with long and multi-section compositions and concept albums, overall coherence is key.
     
    However, coherence can be found in surprisingly wild styles and compositions - the two are not mutually exclusive. Even links that seem haphazrd may make sense in the bigger picture - or they may not.
     
    This is really too granualar an approach to progressive music - again, as noted above, it's not the "what", it's the "how".
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    It would be difficult for me to help you understand why we have such an assortment of bands on this website, as I have been responsible for none of their admissions, and I am still trying to adapt my ideas about the true meaning of being progressive. Ultimately, I don’t feel qualified to speak, and all my questioning so far has not been the result of a solidified opinion, but something that aspires to understand.
     
    Me too.
     
    Except that I have been responsible for the admission of some bands... some very controversial indeed Wink
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    To summarise my thoughts, I don’t think that simplicity of form, technicality, and coherence make or break progressive music, nor do any combination of the three. The thing is, I feel that you and I actually agree on quite a lot of things, but as my ideas are still in a fairly embryonic state, I still have much shaping to do, which I feel these discussions are helping. I feel it’s time for me to reread a few ideas mentioned in the blog for consolidation purposes.
     
    I'm totally happy to explore Modern Prog in it's historical context to try to trace how we got to where we are, to explore all the links between them and Classic bands, and to see how the model can be applied.
     
    The aim is not to indulge in "bashing", but to gain understanding.
     
    You may find it odd, but I consider my ideas to be in a complete state of flux - they are not at all fixed, just based on what I have heard and noted.
     
    I find it fascinating that I tend to end up "on the side of" Classic Prog, as I was too young to enjoy it the first time around (I thought it was noodly nonsense), and that I seem to confront metal fans a lot of the time, when my favourite genre has been metal since the first time I saw The Sweet on Top Of The Pops in 1974 - and it still is.


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Fieldofsorrow
    Date Posted: February 24 2010 at 11:36
    I have to say that I agree entirely with what you have to say with respects to the definitions of modern Prog - I think some listeners and fans need to truly understand what properties of their preferred music qualifies it to be progressive, if they are to make such claims. For sure, the emphasis on how to raise the bar higher has changed dramatically, and I think that needs to be recognised properly. A great amount of research is required, naturally, but I hope to be able to get to the heart of this issue as I explore further. I’m also all the more keen to listen to more classic prog now to see whether the Kenton model can indeed be implied throughout the entire spectrum of progressive music. What would you say to the idea of earlier psychedelic albums qualifying also, such as the debut Floyd album, or perhaps ‘After Bathing At Baxter’s’ by Jefferson Airplane?

    Also, if you were to run the risk of creating such a ‘sprawling mess’ as you suggested, by creating structure before content, perhaps there is some artistic reason for doing so, as the idea has many problems attached. Predetermining the structure limits the directions in which a composition can flow, so achieving anything that can complete the ‘journey’ that you described and so many people search for, sounds all the more challenging.

    A new question arises for me here - are there any bands of the classic era who are commonly accepted to be progressive, but with which you are less convinced? Whilst the ideas of wild, spontaneous, and yet at the same time musical are commonplace with many of the giants, does this apply for you all across the board?  Bearing these more recent ideas in mind, along with the initial model, I’d be interested to hear whether you could say the same for Rush, Kansas, Yes and Jethro Tull as you have for Zappa, Crimson and ELP. I have never questioned any of those acts’ progressive credibility in the past, but the way you have described that ‘continuous and almost impenetrable noise’ makes me feel you might see this differently.

    As I say, I can’t point really single out any tracks from Yes’ catalogue, as I feel that what I can hear is a more stylistic and general similarity. I recommend listening to ‘June’ for yourself and establishing whether or not it’s something you can hear too.

    I’m currently in the process of  evaluating my ideas of coherence and spontaneity, plus how the degree of complexity affects this. Additionally, I’m considering how an absence of either coherence or spontaneity does not render a composition unmusical or without progressive attributes, remembering that coherence is not as evident as it may initially sound. Lots of fundamentals being challenged, in other words.

    Another question - if modern Prog was redefined to reflect its true nature more accurately, do you think it is possible that you would look differently upon it? A thirst for understanding in this area, after all, is presumably equated with a longing for an appreciation of the development of modern music.

    Most interesting to hear how you find yourself to be in a transitional stage yourself - I hope you are surrounded by enough sources to challenge your pre-existing ideas. Smile

    And I can only assume that the metal bands that have made the genre such a favourite for you are playing a very different game to what is popularly cited as progressive metal on this site, right?

    Tongue



    -------------
    Groovy teenage rock with mild prog tendencies: http://www.myspace.com/omniabsenceband


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 25 2010 at 03:40
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    (...). What would you say to the idea of earlier psychedelic albums qualifying also, such as the debut Floyd album, or perhaps ‘After Bathing At Baxter’s’ by Jefferson Airplane?
     
    I haven't listened to "After Bathing..." in much detail, but "Piper..." certainly fits the bill.
     
    I see so many reviews describing it as mere whimsy or psychedelia, yet that is only a part of what the album is about.
     
    There are so many key points that make it a Progressive Rock album that I would miss loads out by making a simple list - but here goes;
     
    1) The overall sound and style is unique. You can dig around and listen to everything released in 1967 and not hear anything that's really like it - sure, there are clear influence from various sources, but there isn't a single piece of music on "Piper..." that directly sounds like something else.
     
    2) Aspects of the Kenton model are on plain view, especially in "Astronomy Domine", "Interstellar Overdrive" and even "Bike".
     
    3) Even the simpler songs show a tendency to want to disrupt the song format, and most have unconventional arrangements, e.g "The Scarecrow".
     
    4) Melody lines tend to be longer and less predictable than "average" pop songs, even though the overall flavour is of a popular song. To be clear, we need an "average" song or two from 1967 - although we could pick an above average one, such as almost anything on "Sergeant Pepper" (these two albums influenced each other, so this may not be a good pick!).
     
    As an alternative, we could choose Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale", held by many to be progressive - yet the melody and accompaniment is, comparatively, utterly predictable and within the typical remit of organ-driven pop/rock as established by the likes of Graham Bond's Organisation and The Animals.
     
    5) Harmonically, we run into dissonance at an unprecedented rate for a pop/rock music album, and a tendency towards electronic sounds and "spacey" effects. I believe that this was influenced by the electronic music underground, which tends to be overlooked from that time - even though Paul McCartney wrote an electronic piece that was performed (just the once) at one of the Million Volt Sound and Light Raves (IIRC).

    6) Piper has an overall coherence as a complete album that I can't quite put my finger on - yet the pieces themselves are disparate in style. This is nothing like the smooth flow of "DSoTM", yet somehow it binds itself together.
     
    7) Stuff I haven't thought of yet... LOL
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Also, if you were to run the risk of creating such a ‘sprawling mess’ as you suggested, by creating structure before content, perhaps there is some artistic reason for doing so, as the idea has many problems attached. Predetermining the structure limits the directions in which a composition can flow, so achieving anything that can complete the ‘journey’ that you described and so many people search for, sounds all the more challenging.
     
    It's not a given that creating a structure before writing the music will create a mess - it depends entirely on the composer, and can, in fact, be the exact opposite. That's one of the great things about music, that almost every rule can be broken by doing the exact opposite, and the end result can be astonishingly musical in the hands of the right composer.
     
    Whether it "works" or not is entirely down to the audience - some might like a "sprawling mess", and sometimes it might be discovered many, many years later that the "sprawling mess" is actually suprisingly coherent.
     
    It's one of those things, though - there are things I look for, and I know that there are many musical historians who look for similar things - like Wagner-style leitmotifs, or musical ideas which represent a character, situation or feeling, melodic, harmonic or rhythmic patterns which are lengthy and develop or change into something new and so on.
     
    These are all musical "binding agents", or things that make the music more coherent. One of my favourite examples is "Moon Child" - which I described in some depth in my review. This is either a complete happy accident, or an advanced way of using both the developmental and leitmotif ideas in an interesting, fresh and avant-jazz like manner.
     
    It is not simple noodle... Tongue
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    A new question arises for me here - are there any bands of the classic era who are commonly accepted to be progressive, but with which you are less convinced?
     
    Heh - many. I won't name names in case I get into one of those lengthy arguments - I don't think this thread is the place!
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Whilst the ideas of wild, spontaneous, and yet at the same time musical are commonplace with many of the giants, does this apply for you all across the board? 
     
    No - of course not. This is why I said that the model is a kind of sliding scale, and there is some agonising to be done over where that scale starts. Obviously, there is no "end point", because the model is theoretically limitless. The "wild, spontaneous and musical" ideal is just that.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    Bearing these more recent ideas in mind, along with the initial model, I’d be interested to hear whether you could say the same for Rush, Kansas, Yes and Jethro Tull as you have for Zappa, Crimson and ELP.
     
    Definitely Jethro Tull - "Thick as a Brick" being the case in point.
     
    Yes and Rush I have a harder time with, but there are definitely many elements.
     
    Kansas to me are a relative unknown - I'm only familiar with "Leftoverture", which to me is a borderline Prog album with some great proggy moments.
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

     I have never questioned any of those acts’ progressive credibility in the past, but the way you have described that ‘continuous and almost impenetrable noise’ makes me feel you might see this differently.
     
    Please bear in mind that that description is merely the extreme, not the mean!
     
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    As I say, I can’t point really single out any tracks from Yes’ catalogue, as I feel that what I can hear is a more stylistic and general similarity. I recommend listening to ‘June’ for yourself and establishing whether or not it’s something you can hear too.
     
    It'll take me a while to get hold of a copy, but I certainly will.

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:



    Another question - if modern Prog was redefined to reflect its true nature more accurately, do you think it is possible that you would look differently upon it? A thirst for understanding in this area, after all, is presumably equated with a longing for an appreciation of the development of modern music.
     
    Definitely.
     
    I tend to listen to it and simply wonder what's so progressive about it - yet I can hear the tendencies in both Radiohead and Muse, without describing either as full-blown Progressive Rock acts. Both appear reasonably high up "the scale", so I'd have no qualms in recommending either to a hard core Prog fan.
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    Most interesting to hear how you find yourself to be in a transitional stage yourself - I hope you are surrounded by enough sources to challenge your pre-existing ideas. Smile
     
    One word; ProgArchives.com Wink 
     
    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:


    And I can only assume that the metal bands that have made the genre such a favourite for you are playing a very different game to what is popularly cited as progressive metal on this site, right?

    Tongue

     
    Now this is an interesting area;
     
    I believe that Progressive Rock and Hard Rock/Metal are linked from birth.
     
    Heavy Metal has ALWAYS been a progressive genre, using the literal sense of the word, but generally shies away from the full-blown excesses of Progressive Rock, having plenty of excesses of its own.
     
    This distinction can actually make the two genres hard to separate - traditionally this seems to have been done by some arbitrary measure of skill, attitude (where skill was beyond question) or, more insultingly, intelligence.
     
    Going back to my example of The Sweet, listen to "Fanny Adams" or "Desolation Boulevard", both from 1974.
     
    These two albums contain every single seed of Heavy Metal - not so much the Sabbath tritonic style, which didn't really dominate until the mid 1980s, but the Judas Priest style.
     
    Not only that, but the instrument tones are astonishing, the experimentation with various electric guitar technics is wild - and the only thing that really stops it being any wilder than Hendrix is the more limited ability - the drumming covers a huge array of styles, and the vocals are amazing.
     
     
    Then consider The Scorpions, Judas Priest, UFO, Gary Moore and Queen! from that time (1974-5). If you don't know their output from back then, you might be amazed.
     
    Priest's "Rocka Roll" is more like Prog Rock than hard rock or metal, The Scorp's "In Trance" shows many aspects of technical metal, as does UFO's "Phenomenon" - particularly in Uli John Roth and Michael Schenker's guitar soloing techniques.
     
    Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack" may be more straightforward and less proggy overall than their first two albums, but the sheer variety of styles puts it on at least an equal plateau with "Leftoverture".
     
    Gary Moore's "Grinding Stone" from 1973 is just amazing. Nuff said.
     
    I would think that any or all of these early heavy metal albums would challenge your ideas of what Progressive (or even Prog) is - or more pertinently, where it starts.
     
    Tellingly, all these albums are more in the heavy metal style than the old hard rock style (typified by Free), mainly because of the tendency away from a swinging rhythmic style and towards more hard-edged riffing, yet also play around with Prog tendencies, using non-pentatonic scale patterns in the soloing, long melodic phrasing and harsh harmonic structures in pieces that push at the 5-minute barrier with extended instrumentals that are not comprised of one or two simple chord patterns.
     
    Remind you of anything? Smile


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: February 25 2010 at 06:02
    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    Originally posted by Fieldofsorrow Fieldofsorrow wrote:

    (...). What would you say to the idea of earlier psychedelic albums qualifying also, such as the debut Floyd album, or perhaps ‘After Bathing At Baxter’s’ by Jefferson Airplane?
     
    I haven't listened to "After Bathing..." in much detail, but "Piper..." certainly fits the bill.
     
    I see so many reviews describing it as mere whimsy or psychedelia, yet that is only a part of what the album is about.
     
    There are so many key points that make it a Progressive Rock album that I would miss loads out by making a simple list - but here goes;
     
    1) The overall sound and style is unique. You can dig around and listen to everything released in 1967 and not hear anything that's really like it - sure, there are clear influence from various sources, but there isn't a single piece of music on "Piper..." that directly sounds like something else.
     
     
    Not sure about the level of uniqueness.
     
    I can think of Zappa's Who Are the Brain Police?, Help, I'm a Rock, and The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet from the year before. Also, from the same year, Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun (plus parts of I don't live Today) and The Byrds' 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song) and perhaps even Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit.
     
    There is also a strong affinity with the stuff Soft Machine did in '66 and '67 (especially live).
     
    Then of course you can go back to the precursors of the early '60's and the works of Joe Meek and The Tornados. (I think you would agree that Joe Meek's I Hear A New World from 1960 is progressive in your sense of the word.)
     
    Not to forget the space jazz of Sun Ra (compare with the intro of Pow R. Toc. H.).


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 26 2010 at 00:43
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

     
    Not sure about the level of uniqueness.
     
    Well, no music is100% unique, as I pointed out.
     
    There are similarities with the music you mention, especially "Freak Out" - arguably the first Progressive Rock release - but "White Rabbit" is stretching it a bit, I think. Maybe there are similarities in some of the Eastern-sounding overtones brought in by use of the harmonic minor scale...
     
    Good calls, but "Piper" is still a very distinctive album, so I think the word "unique" is OK to describe it  Smile
     
    The main point here is that it's Progressive Wink
     
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

     
    Then of course you can go back to the precursors of the early '60's and the works of Joe Meek and The Tornados. (I think you would agree that Joe Meek's I Hear A New World from 1960 is progressive in your sense of the word.)
     
     
    I'm surprised you would think so - after all, it's just a very simple rock and roll riff that had a lot of studio treatment to make it sound spacey.
     
    The concept and maybe the attitude is one that you could link to progressive music, and the end result is certainly startling to anyone unfamiliar with it - but peel away the layers, and there's not very much of interest, musically speaking; Certainly nothing that fits the model we've been discussing.
     
    Or maybe I'm just reacting the same way most people seem to when I suggest that Dick Dale was writing heavy metal in 1962... LOL


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: lucas
    Date Posted: February 26 2010 at 03:45
    I read in the liner notes of Magazine's remastered first album that this album is "progressive" but not prog-rock. I think this can be said of any other experimental post-punk bands (PIL, gang of four...).

    -------------
    "Magma was the very first gothic rock band" (Didier Lockwood)


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 26 2010 at 07:28
    ^Indeed.
     
    "Progressive" can be a catch-all to mean "different", but makes it sound more impressive, as if the musicians had lofty goals of creating a new and higher form of music.
     
    I would think (after a single hearing, to be fair) that Magazine sit at the bottom of the "sliding scale of progressive".
     
    It sounded to me as if creating a higher form of music was the opposite of their intentions - an "attitude" which has more in common with the original goals of Punk Rock ("Punk" meaning "useless", as the punks were first to announce).
     
    The end result, noise as music, may have much in common with certain goals of progressive music - but not many. It was, after all, the antithesis of Prog (supposedly)!


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: MaxerJ
    Date Posted: February 28 2010 at 01:21
    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

     
    There are so many key points that make it a Progressive Rock album that I would miss loads out by making a simple list - but here goes;
     
    1) The overall sound and style is unique. You can dig around and listen to everything released in 1967 and not hear anything that's really like it - sure, there are clear influence from various sources, but there isn't a single piece of music on "Piper..." that directly sounds like something else.
     
    2) Aspects of the Kenton model are on plain view, especially in "Astronomy Domine", "Interstellar Overdrive" and even "Bike".
     
    3) Even the simpler songs show a tendency to want to disrupt the song format, and most have unconventional arrangements, e.g "The Scarecrow".
     
    4) Melody lines tend to be longer and less predictable than "average" pop songs, even though the overall flavour is of a popular song. To be clear, we need an "average" song or two from 1967 - although we could pick an above average one, such as almost anything on "Sergeant Pepper" (these two albums influenced each other, so this may not be a good pick!).
     
    As an alternative, we could choose Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale", held by many to be progressive - yet the melody and accompaniment is, comparatively, utterly predictable and within the typical remit of organ-driven pop/rock as established by the likes of Graham Bond's Organisation and The Animals.
     
    5) Harmonically, we run into dissonance at an unprecedented rate for a pop/rock music album, and a tendency towards electronic sounds and "spacey" effects. I believe that this was influenced by the electronic music underground, which tends to be overlooked from that time - even though Paul McCartney wrote an electronic piece that was performed (just the once) at one of the Million Volt Sound and Light Raves (IIRC).

    6) Piper has an overall coherence as a complete album that I can't quite put my finger on - yet the pieces themselves are disparate in style. This is nothing like the smooth flow of "DSoTM", yet somehow it binds itself together.
     
    7) Stuff I haven't thought of yet... LOL
     


    Maybe it would be easier to make a list of music that does not encorporate progressiveness? LOLLOL
    Seriously though, I'm sure we've all raged at our friend's music, saying, 'It all sounds the same!'
    Maybe it would be easier to draw the line from the other side?

    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

    Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

    It's a shame that the sort of receptive audience and adventurous musical climate that must have existed for Prog to be possible is unlikely to ever appear again. Or am I just being defeatist and overly pessimistic ?


    No, I don't think so at least Tongue...either the musical climate was vastly different from now or there were some socio-cultural factors at work which aided the reception of such adventurous music.   Or maybe...I think Dean has said something like this before, correct me if I am wrong, the adventure is not in prog but other pastures.  I mean though Muse are on the archives, there's always debate over whether they are really prog or not.  And I chalk that up with the packed crowds at Wembley to which they perform....maybe there's some sort of audience even today for adventurous music, just not the prog audience, who may have somewhere got a little too attached to odd time signatures and synthesizers.  Dead


    Yep, that's a valid point as we may be looking in the wrong place and for the wrong things for what we habitually deem to be truly progressive music. I've never heard Muse so can't comment but I've long harboured the suspicion that what will come to be recognised as the prog of the noughties is unlikely to resemble the 70's prog in any shape or form and will only earn its plaudits retrospectively.


    Possibly Muse and likewise moody pop bands could be seen as a recurrence of Proto-Prog, that is to say progressive music gathering speed in culture. I think we will see the same kind of receptiveness for more artistic musicality that was foremost in the 70's, as I still feel that every new wave of music eventually gets bored accepting other people's standards and starts finding it's own musical feet. Who knows, maybe 2011 will hold a double concept album by Kanye?

    Lemming - Isn't it good that progression of the noughties will not resemble progression of the seventies?


    -------------
    Godspeed, You Bolero Enthusiasts
    'Prog is all about leaving home...' - Moshkito


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: February 28 2010 at 06:07
    Originally posted by MaxerJ MaxerJ wrote:


    Maybe it would be easier to make a list of music that does not encorporate progressiveness? LOLLOL
     
    On "Piper at the Gates of Dawn"?
     
    Don't forget I was breaking down a single album - and roughly, because a full analysis would take ages.
     
    Originally posted by MaxerJ MaxerJ wrote:

    Seriously though, I'm sure we've all raged at our friend's music, saying, 'It all sounds the same!'
     
    Probably, but that's not what's happening here - I'm analysing the music for "Progressiveness" - and it's a given that "Progressiveness" is hard to define, so in this thread, I've put forward a model which seems to work quite well.
     
    This is not about some arbitrary opinion - that would be a fruitless argument.
     
    It's more about finding something concrete that we can agree on.
     
    Originally posted by MaxerJ MaxerJ wrote:


    Maybe it would be easier to draw the line from the other side?
    If you read this thread through fully, you'll note that I explored that approach, and I do not believe it can be done - I don't think there is actually a "starting point" for progressive music - It rather seems that there is an ultimate goal instead, represented by the model.
     
    Whether it's universally shared is another part of this discussion entirely Wink


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: LeStaf
    Date Posted: March 05 2010 at 11:08

    Is there such a thing? I don't think so.

    Prog is more used to set different trends of progressive musics (prog-metal, prog-hardcore, symphonic prog, prog-esterone, etc.)
     
    Progressive is the term used by the early fans of  this music, but basicallly, prog and progressive mean the same stream, with its different branches.
     


    -------------
    LeStaff


    Posted By: ExittheLemming
    Date Posted: March 05 2010 at 22:57
    [/QUOTE]

    Possibly Muse and likewise moody pop bands could be seen as a recurrence of Proto-Prog, that is to say progressive music gathering speed in culture. I think we will see the same kind of receptiveness for more artistic musicality that was foremost in the 70's, as I still feel that every new wave of music eventually gets bored accepting other people's standards and starts finding it's own musical feet. Who knows, maybe 2011 will hold a double concept album by Kanye?

    Lemming - Isn't it good that progression of the noughties will not resemble progression of the seventies?
    [/QUOTE]

    Yes, it would be hard to be at the cutting edge while looking over your shoulder. I meant this as a good thing.


    -------------


    Posted By: Sean Trane
    Date Posted: March 10 2010 at 11:23
    I didn't read the thread, so I gdon't whether what I xil say had already been said
     
    BUT
     
    PROG seems nowadays be reserved for néo-retro-symphonic and  encompasses a wide part of progmetal.   But it's been years since Prog (THAT lind of "prog") has been progressive.
     
    There might be exceptions to the rule
     
     
    BTW: is "progressive" == to innovation or experimental??


    Posted By: idiotPrayer
    Date Posted: March 10 2010 at 12:55
    My personal view of music is something like this, using a "box" as a way of explaining:

    Popular/conventional music (not the same thing as pop) = music inside the box and follows presets, going in a "straight line"

    Progressive music = music going it's own way, can be in/outside the box but coming from inside the box

    Experimental music = music going it's own way, can be in/outside the box but coming from a more rational perspective with no "presets", from outside the box


    This may be completely out of subject and weird to some but this is just my personal view


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: March 10 2010 at 15:56
    Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

    I didn't read the thread, so I gdon't whether what I xil say had already been said
     
    BUT
     
    PROG seems nowadays be reserved for néo-retro-symphonic and  encompasses a wide part of progmetal.   But it's been years since Prog (THAT lind of "prog") has been progressive.
     
    There might be exceptions to the rule
     
     
    BTW: is "progressive" == to innovation or experimental??
     
    Well I'm not sure how easy to understand the model is that I posted much earlier in this Blog, but it kinda covers all bases - and probably provokes confusion into the bargain...
     
    The thing with the term "Progressive Music" is that it could actually describe any music, if you wanted it to - hence I took the viewpoint of a kind of sliding scale with an ultimate goal, but no discernable start point.
     
    This merely re-interprets the model - but if both are used, then sensible deductions can be made - but really it's hard to escape hardcore musical theory, which I am trying to do, and easier to cite examples.
     
     
    Without having been there (and remember, "there" was different depending on WHO and WHERE you were!), it's impossible to state with certainty what the goals of the original progressive rockers were - so it's only by applying theory that we see any concrete similarities between Pink Floyd, Genesis, Gentle Giant and Frank Zappa - although, as was stated earlier, we can hear similarities in early Floyd and Zappa...
     
    So let's *guess* from data that's a bit more vague, but no less verifiable;
     
     
    The main goal of the progressive musicians appeared to be to create new music (whether rock or not).
     
    Progressive "Rock" is a nice term, because it effectively binds the music to the Rock idiom - and if you apply the above goal, you understand that the Rock should be new sounding - ie, not sound like Rock has traditionally sounded.
     
    The Mellotron was, of course, a key player - you could add various textures and hey presto! A standard rock song suddenly has that Proggy vibe.
     
    Then there was the huge jazz aspect - play rock as if it was jazz music, and you get kudos for playing "hard" jazz music, whilst appealing to rock fans at the same time as creating something new sounding. The unsung Scottish band Clouds did a lot of this - check out "Up Above Their Heads".
     
    Why stop at jazz? The Nice most certainly didn't (and neither did Clouds, but The Nice were better at it). Merge Classical into the mix, and this must be the ultimate - the big 3 genres of music all mixed up together.
     
    Mixing it all up - now there's a key element, surely?
     
    Why stop at mixing different musical styles or genres together? Why not mix up the music until you can hardly tell you're listening to music any more?
     
     
    ...and you wonder why I don't consider standard songs to have very much to do with Prog? LOL
     
    Of course, that was then and this is now - but surely the whole mixing it up thing is core to progressive music?
     
    ...and I don't mean at a "timid" level, like Muse adding a trumpet to a song and making it sound somewhat Western - I mean at a cutting-edge level. Hell, the cutters don't have to be particularly sharp.
     
    So where is that starting point again?
     
     
    /makes note not to post after partaking of the amber nectar - this probably won't make sense tomorrow...


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Dean
    Date Posted: March 10 2010 at 17:13
    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    Why stop at jazz? The Nice most certainly didn't (and neither did Clouds, but The Nice were better at it). Merge Classical into the mix, and this must be the ultimate - the big 3 genres of music all mixed up together.
     
    Mixing it all up - now there's a key element, surely?
     
    Why stop at mixing different musical styles or genres together? Why not mix up the music until you can hardly tell you're listening to music any more?
    I'm (still) unconvinced by this, though I will begrudgingly accept that some (not all) bands incorporated jazz into their music (or rocked-up the jazz they were playing), I don't for classical.
     
    Bands of the late 60s took two things from classical - some nicked melodies wholesale, and some wanted that "orchestral" sound - few (if any) actually tried to create classical/rock fusions, or used classical structures, formats, techniques and applied them to rock music. While we can look back and see patterns in some of the more epic pieces and say "there - classical structure" I think we are seeing animal shapes in the clouds or the Madonna image burnt into a slice of toast.
     
    The use of "classical" music sound is a product of the studio system of the 60s and 70s, that is a throw-back to the 30s, 40s and 50s where all "pop" vocalists were recorded with an orchestral backing, so all major studios had a studio orchestra, or access to one. While in the 50s and 60s skiffle groups and Beat combos became popular, the studio orchestra was still used to fill-out the sparse sound of badly played electrified instruments. The Hammond organ, the Synthesiser and the Melotron where all developed as cheap replacements for these studio orchestras - there were not intended as lead instruments, but as musical putty to fill-in the gaps (in the 70s Godley and Creme developed the Gizmo™ for exactly that reason). Baroque pop, Days Of Future Passed, Whiter Shade Of Pale and Sgt Pepper took that a little further and brought the orchestral element to the fore a little more, but they were still essentially orchestrated pop, not classical influenced. The early Progressive Rock was no different really - while The Nice Put a rock edge to classical pieces, and extrapolated that into noise-jams, and Deep Purple created a classical sounding concerto with Rock interludes, the rest just created an orchestral sound to rock music - Renaissance probably came closest but then it was more chamber music than symphonic. If Prog Rock is so closely tied to classical in its roots then I'd expect to see more crossovers from one genre to the other (and aside from Karl Jenkins...) it just hasn't happened.


    -------------
    What?


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 06:13
    Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

    I'm (still) unconvinced by this, though I will begrudgingly accept that some (not all) bands incorporated jazz into their music (or rocked-up the jazz they were playing), I don't for classical.
     
    Bands of the late 60s took two things from classical - some nicked melodies wholesale, and some wanted that "orchestral" sound - few (if any) actually tried to create classical/rock fusions, or used classical structures, formats, techniques and applied them to rock music. While we can look back and see patterns in some of the more epic pieces and say "there - classical structure" I think we are seeing animal shapes in the clouds or the Madonna image burnt into a slice of toast.
     
    A few early attempts at classical/rock fusion did succeed I think, such as Procol Harum (Repent Walpurgis), Spirit (Veruska), Vanilla Fudge (The Sky Cried when...). Many other early examples of a classical/rock mix exist but they are not shaken/mixed as well as these three.


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 06:37
    Maybe "merge" was a bit strong, as Dean is right - this did not happen to the same extent as Jazz.
     
    The bands who did try were few and far between - there's The Nice (in whose context I brought the subject up), Ekseption, Sky, The Enid and Andrew Lloyd Webber...
     
    I'll have to revisit that - as I noted at the end of the post, I really should avoid posting after a snifter or two...


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Dean
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 07:05
    ^ there is also the question (Sword of Damocles stylee) on just how "prog" any of those bands mentioned (Procol, Nice, Spirit, Fudge, Ekseption, Sky, ALW etc), really are/were.

    -------------
    What?


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 09:12
    Indeed - and this could be a good area to explore further.
     
    IMO, the order of those you listed as examples would be (least "prog" first) - but this list is only as a guess, because I am not familiar with the entire catalogue of any of these bands, only with the most representative material;
     
    Sky
    Vanilla Fudge
    Procol Harum
    Ekseption
    Spirit
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (I'm thinking specifically of "Variations" here, of course - none of the rest of his output comes close. This is also a cheating way of getting Colosseum II above Spirit, as really, I think they're about equal).
     
     
     
    The Nice (by an extremely long way).
     
     


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: harmonium.ro
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 09:33
    Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

    I didn't read the thread, so I gdon't whether what I xil say had already been said
     
    BUT
     
    PROG seems nowadays be reserved for néo-retro-symphonic and  encompasses a wide part of progmetal.   But it's been years since Prog (THAT lind of "prog") has been progressive.
     
    There might be exceptions to the rule
     


    Very good post Hugues. That is the exact same reason why I don't use the word "prog" when discussing related topics, as for most people "prog" has come to represent only a part of the whole of progressive rock, namely that which is based on instrumental interplay, rich sound (synths and organs), and has the "classic" sound. No wonder we have threads like "Is Pink Floyd/Zappa/Krautrock/post-rock/avant-rock/electronic/modern-prog/etc prog?". By the standards of "prog purists", all those aren't prog - and I'm willing to live with it and accept they aren't "prog", but are "progressive rock".


    Posted By: earlyprog
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 12:38
    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    Indeed - and this could be a good area to explore further.
     
    IMO, the order of those you listed as examples would be (least "prog" first) - but this list is only as a guess, because I am not familiar with the entire catalogue of any of these bands, only with the most representative material;
     
    Sky
    Vanilla Fudge
    Procol Harum
    Ekseption
    Spirit
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (I'm thinking specifically of "Variations" here, of course - none of the rest of his output comes close. This is also a cheating way of getting Colosseum II above Spirit, as really, I think they're about equal).
     
     
     
    The Nice (by an extremely long way).
     
     
     
    The approach you are applying to reach this conclusion is way - WAY - too simplistic.
     
    I'm not surprised you're reaching all the wrong conclusions; you are averaging out all the innovative songs in these acts' output and this explains your generic presentation. It was from the beginning - unfortunately still remains - a major drawback of your analysis.
     
    By using this "first order approximation" you neglect all the innovators of the proto-prog movement, who - by implication - gave us a little progressive music here and there.
     
    Instead of continuing this generic approach I suggest you are more specific and present evidence/data in support of your claims. Please provide the documentaion by means of individual songs as this would prove that your list can be turned upside down. I won't bother listing the songs to verify my statement as this thread  obviously is the wrong place to do this.
     
    At least you openly admit your ignorance by saying you're only vaguely familiar with the output of these bands. I would have preferred this statement in your opening post.
     
    Smile


    Posted By: Dean
    Date Posted: March 11 2010 at 15:38
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    Indeed - and this could be a good area to explore further.
     
    IMO, the order of those you listed as examples would be (least "prog" first) - but this list is only as a guess, because I am not familiar with the entire catalogue of any of these bands, only with the most representative material;
     
    Sky
    Vanilla Fudge
    Procol Harum
    Ekseption
    Spirit
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (I'm thinking specifically of "Variations" here, of course - none of the rest of his output comes close. This is also a cheating way of getting Colosseum II above Spirit, as really, I think they're about equal).
     
     
     
    The Nice (by an extremely long way).
     
     
     
    The approach you are applying to reach this conclusion is way - WAY - too simplistic.
     
    I'm not surprised you're reaching all the wrong conclusions; you are averaging out all the innovative songs in these acts' output and this explains your generic presentation. It was from the beginning - unfortunately still remains - a major drawback of your analysis.
     
    By using this "first order approximation" you neglect all the innovators of the proto-prog movement, who - by implication - gave us a little progressive music here and there.
     
    Instead of continuing this generic approach I suggest you are more specific and present evidence/data in support of your claims. Please provide the documentaion by means of individual songs as this would prove that your list can be turned upside down. I won't bother listing the songs to verify my statement as this thread  obviously is the wrong place to do this.
     
    At least you openly admit your ignorance by saying you're only vaguely familiar with the output of these bands. I would have preferred this statement in your opening post.
     
    Smile
    I think it is significant that those one-off tracks like Repent Walpurgis were a blip in their repertoire which diminishes the importance of those tracks a little. Procol Harum (at least with Trower in the band) continued, in the main, down the R'n'B route until Grand Hotel and by then the Progressive Rock genre was fairly well established in its own right. (as you rightly say) they gave us a little progressive music here and there, but that is with the benefit of hindsight - it is fair to average out the innovation, (if that actually was "innovation" - again, I find that claim slightly dubious). If it had no affect on any other band's output during that early period of progressive rock (and there is little evidence that it did) then I question just how much that influenced Prog Rock of the late 60s early 70s at the time.

    -------------
    What?


    Posted By: lor68
    Date Posted: March 13 2010 at 09:03
    Dear sir,
     
    I'm the keyboardplayer from Lethe (former romantic progressive band of the early nineties in italy) and during a lot of interviews I was almost obliged to give an explanation regarding my idea of "Progressive Music"...but of course it's a question of labels...with the term "prog (in the sense of progressive attitude)/prog related, usually you mean a different music genre like AOR or Pompous music melodic rock (listen to SUPERTRAMP, Kansas or Asia, or even Toto and Queen), whose music is more accessible, but it can contains some virtuosic elements or other features that you can find usually within the pure progressive music (even though here in a more extended manner)... instead the "pure progressive", sometimes under the language of symphonic rock or symphonic jazz, is actually a mix of several styles, where you can find elements of polyphonic and medieval music or even the music of F. Zappa (listen to After Crying for instance), and the common elements are represented by the extended or long interplays between the instruments, as well as the strong presence of the virtuosic elements and long solos too. Besides here you can find the development of a complex music plot, like the chapters of a novel linked together under a "light-motiv", then growing along with the inspiration of the musician (according to a "work in progress"), which let him gain his own "magic" experience of "plot developer"... but naturally it's more difficult to be understood by the common listener (above all if it's an avant-gard music like that one by Henry Cow for example), in comparison to a more accessible music genre such as the prog related music...nevertheless the progressive rock by early Genesis, Yes and ELP can be easier sometimes and enriched by means of melodic ballads as well...ok I prefer to give you my idea, by indicating all the sub-genres under the label "PROG" in the following lines:
     
     Starting with the explanation concerning the difference among THE ROMANTIC CLASSIC PROG MAIN GENRE (Yes, early Genesis,ELP, Renaissance and Camel), the seminal PROTO-PROG/ART ROCK SUB-GENRE, by Titus Groan,High Tide,Quatermass,King Crimson,Jade Warrior,etc.)going to the modern version of ART ROCK nowadays (Don Caballero,Djam Karet or modern King Crimson- as from “Lark’s Tongue in aspic 2nd era till the 3rd era of “Discipline”, “Beat” and “3 of perfect pair”-), and the most ambitious and difficult sub-genre called NEO CLASSICAL/EXP.SYMPHONIC SUB-GENRE(After Crying,Univers Zero,Solaris,etc.), I remark all that following:

    <PROTO-PROG>: it's the seminal prog style, very close to the art rock style, but under the major influence of psichedelic elements (listen for example to Second Hand's "Death may be your Santa Claus"), this genre representing the oldest attempt to bring elements of different styles,which aren't necessarily linked to rock blues and classic rock/hard rock (listen for example to the experimental band -a bit "Led Zeppelin" oriented- High Tide, which adds the violin and some hard pshichedelic colors too) ",trying anyway to perform a new kind of harmonic solutions, sometimes connected to the experimental jazz field (listen for example to Affinity or Audience, while Nice and Quatermass are very poor from this point of view, remaining linked to the classic rock;even though Quatermass stands in this place hardly, because they are much closer to the hard rock style of Deep Purple, by adding only some organ riffs and solos);instead the majority of the classic mellow pop bands of the 70's,these ones sometimes being "light classical music oriented", is often characterized by their reprise of "airs" from J.S.Bach or simple themes from classical music (e.g. Procol Harum,Moody Blues+the already mentioned Nice, and -in some circumstances only- Kayak and Ekseption as well, but avoiding the jazz style !!)

    <ART ROCK>: It's the first attempt(late Sixties/Early 70'S)to bring the rock style of the sixties into 70’s music and a new field of exploration as well, trying to create a mix with other styles (Jazz, Electronic, Classic music and the dissonant hard rock as well),often in a very raw manner, in other moments in the pop mellow way of Procul Harum,Moody Blues,Barclay James Harvest,maintaining anyway the typical proto-prog structure of the sixties, where the simple form of rockblues is not erased yet:early King Crimson fits into it!

    <ROMANTIC PROG MAIN GENRE>:it’s the first of the "genealogic" list and more accessible as well; it can be sometimes very complex(YES, early GENESIS,ELP, Renaissance in the symphonic vein, with light or complex symphonic elements, also in the traditional folk structure and often in a "theatre-musical" vein , like in the style of ANGE and The Enid):It's the first complete settlement of Prog rock,it can be complex but also captivating and suitable for common people (often the classical suite-structure is dominant-like the Yes symphonies or that one of Renaissance’s Scheherazade;besides in some albums by Camel,who covered also the light canterburian style in "MoonMadness",you can not see many classical structures,apart from “The snow Goose” and “Harbour of tears”,but rather great guitar excursus in a lot of different styles, in the vein of the old Genesis;instead in the case of the band Renaissance,there are also some contaminations between the traditional english folk and the classic music as well, not in the manner- that experimental one - of Gryphon)- Sagrado coracao da terra is inthe middle between the Camel style and the classic prog of YES/ELP (listen to the fugue of the second symphonic side of “Fletcha”)
    At last,in this field, there are a couple of diverse sub-genres,those are:

    <The Gentle Giant style and thatone by Frank Zappa>

    The first one is characterized by the continued contamination between complex vocal renaissance poliphony, medioeval style and experimental Jazz,in a incredible cocktail, which sometimes can be closer to Art rock, in other moments is near chamber music, but avoiding the experimental Canterbury fusion prog of neoclassical/symphonic style(Myrthrandir, Yezda Urfa plus Echolyn of ”Suffocating the bloom” and “As the world” are fine examples, sometimes in a more modern fusion vein, instead Hamadryad are closer to modern prog-metal,but without forgetting the elements of renaissance poliphony).

    The second one is characterized by a cocktail of rock, blues, experimental jazz/fusion and theatrical "musicals" as well (see ensembles like that one of Isildur's Bane or sometimes that one already mentioned of After Crying.)

    <NEO-CLASSICAL/EXP.SYMPHONIC>: This sub-genre is a step beyond, being more complex and characterized by the contamination of Classic prog, either with chamber music(sometimes with excerpts of medioeval music and renaissance polyphony as well) or classic/jazz fusion style (even with acoustic instrumentation only),without any precise direction or any particular preclusion. It can be sometimes very dark and experimental, in the experimental/symphonic Canterbury vein (Magma and Dun for the experimental side,Minimum Vital and J. Pascal Boffo for the fusion symphonic one, are fine examples,but without forgetting also great bands such as After Crying and Isildurs Bane)"picking" all the tones and colors of musical harmony: for this reason this sub-genre is the most ambitious style

    <OTHER STYLES AND THE MODERN ONES>:FUSION PROG, EXPERIMENTAL FOLK PROG, LIGHT FOLK PROG,LIGHT CANTERBURY, CLASSIC EXPERIMENTAL CANTERBURY, DARK PROG, NEW PROGRESSIVE WAVE, PROGRESSIVE POP/POMP, PROGRESSIVE STEEL, AMBIENT, NEW AGE,etc.


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    So you'd like to...

    know the several sub-genres under the label "PROG"

    A guide by http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3QHIH7C3H81EH/ref=cm_sylt_fullview_header_name">Lethe "lor68" (Milan, Italy)
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    http://www.amazon.com/High-Tide/dp/B000025QW7/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_3">High Tide (Proto-prog)
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    http://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-White-Willow/dp/B00004UEGY/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_12">Sacrament (Exp. modern Folk prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Red-Queen-Gryphon-Three/dp/B000000847/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_13">Red Queen to Gryphon Three (Exp.classic Folk prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Wood-Jethro-Tull/dp/B000008H1Y/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_14">Songs from the Wood (Classic Folk prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Cards-Renaissance/dp/B000000132/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_15">Turn of the Cards (Classic prog/folk prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Scheherazade-Other-Stories-Renaissance/dp/B0000073BG/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_16">Scheherazade & Other Stories (Classic Symphonic prog/folk prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Fable-Seven-Pillows-Terus-Symphonia/dp/B00005LWMO/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_17">Fable of the Seven Pillows (Symphonicprog/classicmusic-oriented folk prog)
    <product no longer available> (Symphonic prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Pictures-Exhibition-Emerson-Lake-Palmer/dp/B0000033P1/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_18">Pictures at an Exhibition (Classic Symphonic prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Close-Edge-Yes/dp/B000002J1E/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_28">Close to the Edge (Symphonic prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Power-Glory-Gentle-Giant/dp/B000006YYM/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_20">The Power and the Glory (Gentle Giant's contemporary prog style)
    http://www.amazon.com/Retreat-ROUSSEAU/dp/B00003L4F3/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_21">Retreat (Contemporary Light Canterbury)
    http://www.amazon.com/Moonmadness-Camel/dp/B000005S08/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_22">Moonmadness (Classic Light Canterbury)
    http://www.amazon.com/Nod-Wink-Camel/dp/B00006F7XJ/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_29">A Nod and a Wink (Contemporary classic melodic prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Mirage-Camel/dp/B00005V1B1/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_24">Mirage (Classic Prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Selling-England-Pound-Genesis/dp/B000002J1O/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_25">Selling England by the Pound (Classic Prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Our-Saviours-Triggering-Myth/dp/B00000BIFA/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_26">Sins of Our Saviours (Fusion prog/Exp.Classic prog)
    http://www.amazon.com/Forgiving-Eden-Triggering-Myth/dp/B00006IXGM/ref=cm_syf_dtl_txt_27">Forgiving Eden (Fusion prog/Exp.Classic prog)



    -------------
    Lethe's keyboardplayer


    Posted By: Ancient Troubadour
    Date Posted: March 29 2010 at 02:48
    Yep!
    Ready for part II now.
    Give us the goods on what makes a piece progressive!!

    I'd like to put for'ard a cupla pieces which epitomise the progressive nature for me:
    There's the mostly uncomposed type which DOES include jamming, but jamming that is exceedingly sensitive: namely Anonymus II by Focus, which can stretch to 40 minutes or more, which has set changes and stages but can include unplanned changes of meter, chord structure and theme (before returning to the agreed parts) in other words it's a piece of music which is alive rather than a monotonously revolving turnaround. This takes extreme musicianship because not many musos are sensitive enough to hear an unplanned change in direction coming "in the air" and follow it. It takes almost some supernatural thing for a whole band to have this kind of communication going, its almost "esp"!
    That kind of changeableness is certainly progressive... It's about exploring and experimenting, which is certainly a hallmark of progress. 

    Then there's the kind which is definitely mostly composed but always takes you on a journey in the heart and mind... to some other world or place. At the risk of being called a boob for bringing up a non prog band for my example: Telegraph Road by Dire Straits. That certainly unfolds and progresses like a journey. Certainly a ride of hope and despair.

    I may be wrong, but I reckon a Rock Opera or a Concept album could hardly be far from qualifying as progressive since they generally explore pithy ideas. The hallmark of a progger is to be a thinker... a deep questioner... might that then mean Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" might qualify?
    I'm certain Iona's "Beyond these Shores" is prog.
    Like Oldfield's Tubular Bells I think some sort of story is always being told even if it's too abstract to pick out... being a story told in musical ideas in moods if not in words. 
    So in that respect I wonder if storytelling is an important factor in defining prog.

    Cheers,
    Let's hear part 2, eh?



    -------------
    Tales of the Ancient Troubadour:
    http://www.myspace.com/ancienttroubadour. Promo album download on request.


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: March 29 2010 at 03:03
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    Originally posted by Certif1ed Certif1ed wrote:

    Indeed - and this could be a good area to explore further.
     
    IMO, the order of those you listed as examples would be (least "prog" first) - but this list is only as a guess, because I am not familiar with the entire catalogue of any of these bands, only with the most representative material;
     
    Sky
    Vanilla Fudge
    Procol Harum
    Ekseption
    Spirit
    Andrew Lloyd Webber (I'm thinking specifically of "Variations" here, of course - none of the rest of his output comes close. This is also a cheating way of getting Colosseum II above Spirit, as really, I think they're about equal).
     
     
     
    The Nice (by an extremely long way).
     
     
     
    The approach you are applying to reach this conclusion is way - WAY - too simplistic.
     
    I'm not surprised you're reaching all the wrong conclusions;
     
    Which conclusions are wrong - all of them?
     
    Wow - can you be specific rather than throwing this blunt implement at me?
     
    If you're referring only to that specific post, then I admit, I did generalise hugely, but in my defence, the rest of this blog is much more specific.
     
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

     you are averaging out all the innovative songs in these acts' output and this explains your generic presentation. It was from the beginning - unfortunately still remains - a major drawback of your analysis.
     
    I fail to see how it makes a difference to this discussion, and particularly to my analysis, let alone constituting a "major drawback".
     
    This is a specific topic - there is simply no way we can look at each and every band's ouput, so it must be "averaged out".
     
    However, if certain pieces contributed hugely, then we could examine them in terms of how far they reach the "goals" of progressive music, both contemporary and in a wider sense.
     
     
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

     
    By using this "first order approximation" you neglect all the innovators of the proto-prog movement, who - by implication - gave us a little progressive music here and there.
     
    Instead of continuing this generic approach I suggest you are more specific and present evidence/data in support of your claims. Please provide the documentaion by means of individual songs as this would prove that your list can be turned upside down. I won't bother listing the songs to verify my statement as this thread  obviously is the wrong place to do this.
     
     
    Actually you would need to specify the exact songs - or how could documentation be provided?
     
    I rather feel from your challenge, that you should be not only providing the songs, but the analysis that "proves me wrong" (not sure how you can possibly prove me" wrong" when this entire blog is an exploration rather than a series of specific claims).
     
    By "not bothering" to provide any evidence (this thread is obviously exactly the right place for this) I can only assume that you don't really know of any, and that you're placing the entire burden on me to resolve your challenge - which is less "specific" than nit-picky, IMHO.
     
     
     
    Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

    At least you openly admit your ignorance by saying you're only vaguely familiar with the output of these bands. I would have preferred this statement in your opening post.
     
    Smile
    Why?
     
    Those bands were entirely irrelevant to my opening post.
     
    I must also point out that my "vaguely familiar" may be different to someone else's... it means that I have not sat down and transcribed the music in my mind, figuring out the technical goodies and weeding out the wheat from the chaff - the scientific analysis, not the romantic poetic ideals presented by the music.
     
    I freely admit my ignorance levels - why not - it's how I learn. What's the point of pretending you know everything? Especially when you don't  Tongue


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Certif1ed
    Date Posted: March 29 2010 at 03:24
    Originally posted by Ancient Troubadour Ancient Troubadour wrote:

    Yep!
    Ready for part II now.
    Give us the goods on what makes a piece progressive!!

    I'd like to put for'ard a cupla pieces which epitomise the progressive nature for me:
    There's the mostly uncomposed type which DOES include jamming, but jamming that is exceedingly sensitive: namely Anonymus II by Focus, which can stretch to 40 minutes or more, which has set changes and stages but can include unplanned changes of meter, chord structure and theme (before returning to the agreed parts) in other words it's a piece of music which is alive rather than a monotonously revolving turnaround. This takes extreme musicianship because not many musos are sensitive enough to hear an unplanned change in direction coming "in the air" and follow it. It takes almost some supernatural thing for a whole band to have this kind of communication going, its almost "esp"!
    That kind of changeableness is certainly progressive... It's about exploring and experimenting, which is certainly a hallmark of progress. 

    Then there's the kind which is definitely mostly composed but always takes you on a journey in the heart and mind... to some other world or place. At the risk of being called a boob for bringing up a non prog band for my example: Telegraph Road by Dire Straits. That certainly unfolds and progresses like a journey. Certainly a ride of hope and despair.

    I may be wrong, but I reckon a Rock Opera or a Concept album could hardly be far from qualifying as progressive since they generally explore pithy ideas. The hallmark of a progger is to be a thinker... a deep questioner... might that then mean Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" might qualify?
    I'm certain Iona's "Beyond these Shores" is prog.
    Like Oldfield's Tubular Bells I think some sort of story is always being told even if it's too abstract to pick out... being a story told in musical ideas in moods if not in words. 
    So in that respect I wonder if storytelling is an important factor in defining prog.

    Cheers,
    Let's hear part 2, eh?

     
    I think you're getting into the "elements" side of things a bit too much, and drawing conclusions from a limited evidence base - ie you hear a certain trait in a couple of "Prog" albums, then fit those to "non-Prog" and hear "Prog" - a natural tendency.
     
    Of course, it's just possible I'm doing that too, even though I am consciously trying to avoid it - which is why being overly-specific can lead to false conclusions.
     
    I certainly don't think you're a "boob" for mentioning "Telegraph Road" - and you could have mentioned "Private Investigations" too - many "non-Prog" bands have written progressive pieces, and herein lies the core of the whole Prog vs Progressive issue - and the main part I have been chewing over is where does "Progressive" actually begin, and at what point does it enter into the hallowed realms of "Prog".
     
    Obviously, there are no "lines", so I decided upon a sliding scale approach combined with a model which represents an ideal. Obviously, the model has limitations - it doesn't mention Rodney Matthews, the Mellotron or triple album sets, for example, but there's plenty we can extrapolate.
     
    This "band ESP" thing you mention is interesting - but I think that any decent band has it to some extent. I recently jammed with a band I'd never played with before, and within the first half hour I discovered just this kind of synergy between myself and the drummer (I was playing bass).
     
    That said, it is a core part of what I look for in the "Prog" I enjoy most - where the music takes on this kind of mind-reading quality (I've heard it a lot in really good jazz bands) so you are no longer conscious of listening to "Rock" music per se, that is, the notion of a "song" goes out the window - and you simply go with the flow.
     
    Without being familiar with all of Focus' music, I would say that they were a great example, from the limited number of their pieces I know, and I'd say that "Anonymous II" is a good call.
     
    Story-telling is not confined to Prog, however - much folk and C&W draws heavily on a story-telling tradition, for example.


    -------------
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.


    Posted By: Ancient Troubadour
    Date Posted: March 29 2010 at 03:34
    Story Telling... and CnW? 
    D'oh! You got me there!
    Any rate, I'll be watching for your further analysis of "what is..." with interest. 
    Thanks for that!

    Cheers!


    -------------
    Tales of the Ancient Troubadour:
    http://www.myspace.com/ancienttroubadour. Promo album download on request.



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