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ECLECTIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Eclectic Prog definition

The term 'eclectic' in the context of progressive rock describes a summation of elements from various musical sources, and the influences and career paths of bands that take from a wide range of genres or styles. While progressive music can be, in a larger sense, eclectic, the 'Eclectic Prog' term is specially meant to reference bands that trespass the boundaries of established Progressive Rock genres or that blend many influences.

Eclectic Prog combines hybrids of style and diversity of theme, promoting many elements from different sources. The Eclectic category recognizes bands that evolved markedly over their career (in a progressive, evolutionary way), or have a plural style without a clear referential core.

The basic features lie within the music's variety, rich influences, art tendencies and classic prog rock elements. Among the representative bands are KING CRIMSON, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, and GENTLE GIANT.

- written by Ricochet (Victor)

Current Team as at 23/10/2018

Ian (Tapfret)
silly Puppy (Mike)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Mike (TCat)
Simon (Mascodagama)
Kevin (Magnum Vaeltaja)

Eclectic Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Eclectic Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.63 | 4129 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.55 | 3274 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.48 | 2015 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.42 | 2809 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.42 | 2134 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.34 | 1628 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.31 | 1605 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 1539 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.30 | 1899 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.29 | 1471 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 840 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.28 | 1456 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.26 | 1476 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.24 | 1375 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.26 | 554 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.24 | 476 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.25 | 399 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.18 | 704 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC - PART TWO
Beardfish
4.26 | 290 ratings
DECALOGUE OF DARKNESS
Daal
4.12 | 2097 ratings
LIZARD
King Crimson

Eclectic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Eclectic Prog experts team

DADARUHI
Replikas
ASTRID PRÖLL
Astrid Pröll
INTERPOSE+
Interpose+
DIAGONAL
Diagonal

Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 A Time Before This by JULIAN'S TREATMENT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.77 | 59 ratings

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A Time Before This
Julian's Treatment Eclectic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars JULIAN's TREATMENT were a British band led by Julian Jay Savarin, a West Indian sci-fi writer and keyboard player born on the small island of Dominica. He moved to London in the early 1960's and formed a band, and the group recorded their first album "A Time Before This" in 1970. The twelve songs on the album were listed as chapters in the form of a sci-fi novel. The second album, "Waiters on the Dance" (1971) was credited to Julian Jay Savarin alone. Both albums were science fiction concept albums and the original LP albums have since become rare collectors items that are said to fetch incredibly high prices. Let's travel back in time now to the sound of "A Time Before This".

The "First Chapter: First Prophecy - First Oracle" opens forbiddingly to the haunting ethereal sound of Savarin's solo organ. The music has a very dark and doom-laden atmosphere with vocalist Cathy Pruden announcing ominously:- "Out of the cinnamon sky a face appears, Out of the tamarind byre, come darkest fears and the first prophecies." ..... The portentous doom and gloom ambience sounds very foreboding and it's enough to send a shiver up the spine and give you a touch of the heebie-jeebies, a bit like a well-known Bee Gees tribute band. The "Second Chapter: The Coming Of The Mule" is magnificent. Watch out though, because this is an angry mule with attitude! It's a vibrant keyboard piece featuring some outstandingly powerful guitar outbursts which kick like a recalcitrant mule. This incredible music picks up in pace midway through and thunders along to the finish-line like a runaway express train. The "Third Chapter: Phantom City" does indeed sound like a train rumbling along down the tracks at full-speed ahead. The pulsating music barrels along relentlessly with the wailing vocals of Cathy Pruden sounding like she's on some weird psychedelic acid trip. This express locomotive song is loaded with so much speed and incredible energy, you feel as if the "train" might be derailed at any moment. The "Fourth Chapter: The Black Tower" slows down the pace slightly, but there's still enough latent power and energy contained within this awesome music to illuminate a lighthouse with one million candle power. The powerful combination of Julian Jay Savarin's tremendous keyboards and Cathy Pruden's incredible vocal range are what really lifts this music into higher out-of-this-world realms. After all, this IS a science fiction themed album where the music sounds just as fantastic as the fantasy sci-fi storyline. The "Fifth Chapter: Alda, Dark Lady Of The Outer Worlds" is a magical mixed bag of tricks, featuring quiet and introspective keyboard pieces combined with wild dynamic outbursts of raw energy and power with Cathy Pruden's incredible vocals soaring right up into the stratosphere and beyond. In the words of Hawkwind, this stunning album debut represents "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music! There's a complete change of pace for "The "Sixth Chapter: Altarra, Princess Of The Blue Women", a beautifully laid-back Jazzy number with some charming honey-coated vocals from Cathy. The haunting other-worldly music sounds like it could have come straight out of a 1960's sci-fi movie. This gorgeous music is simply sublime!

Side Two opens with the "Seventh Chapter: Second Prophecy - Second Oracle", a haunting piano and organ prelude with a dark foreboding atmosphere where Cathy Pruden ominously warns us again:- "Out of the cinnamon sky a face appears, Out of the tamarind byre, come no more fears." ..... Spooky! The "Eighth Chapter" is divided into two 3-minute parts:- "Part One: Twin Suns Of Centauri" and "Part Two: Alkon, Planet Of Centauri". Part One is a heavenly celestial organ piece with occasional dynamic outbursts of reverberating guitar. Part Two represents a complete contrast though, where the music suddenly bursts into life with latent energy and vigour and where Cathy's incredible vocals take us on a wild psychedelic acid trip across the universe. The "Ninth Chapter: The Terran" is a storming Jazz-Rock keyboard instrumental that thunders along at lightning speed. This is the kind of barrelling powerhouse Rock music that might inspire you to skip the light fandango, and turn cartwheels across the floor, although try not to do yourself an injury. The "Tenth Chapter: Fourth From The Sun" is obviously a reference to the planet Mars. It's another boisterous and rollickingly good Jazz-Rock number, but We all know by now there are no such things as Martians, but Cathy is convinced she's "The daughter of the fourth from the Sun" and who are we to argue? After all, this was 1970, long before probes landed on the surface of Mars and proved beyond reasonable doubt that we weren't going to have a War of the Worlds-style Martian invasion any time soon. The "Eleventh Chapter: Strange Things" takes us on a magical journey across time and space into another musical dimension. We're on a TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) ride back in time to 1970 for an explosive rabble-rousing burst of high-energy Rock & Roll. Set the controls for the heart of the Sun, because we're coming to the end of our wild intergalactic ride across the universe now with the final "Twelfth Chapter: Epilogue - A Time Before This". This nine-minute-long stellar masterpiece is an ecstatic galactic, psychedelic pleasure trip back in time of truly epic proportions. This incredible album of Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music has gone into orbit and achieved instant five-star status with this fantastic out-of-this-world conclusion.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, came an album of such awesome brilliance, it shone like an exploding supernova. "A Time Before This" IS that album!

 Interview by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.76 | 727 ratings

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Interview
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Despite having the reputation as one of the most varied, original and extremely talented progressive rock bands of the entire 70s, GENTLE GIANT was unfortunately a bit too eclectic and ahead of the pack to capture the attention of the average prog fan of the day, however it did mean that the few followers they attracted were absolutely obsessed with this band and for good reason. This band sounded like no other. From its exact decade long existence that began in 1970 and ended in 1980, GENTLE GIANT released an album each year and even a second for the year 1972 which ended up with a total of 11 studio albums in that decade long run.

The beauty of GENTLE GIANT was the fact that all the members were multi-instrumentalists and the band was considered the most complex of all prog bands of the era as they performed the uncanny musical alchemy that mixed prog rock, soul, jazz, classical and most importantly crafted some of the most incredibly bizarre yet beautiful vocal harmonies ever heard with the perfect unorthodox mixtures of melody, dissonance and angular instrumental workouts. The band has become legendary for good reason but despite the plaudits of being early pioneers, the band struggled financially to carry on. But carry on they did in prog fashion at least until 1976's release of INTERVIEW, the band's eighth studio album and indisputable last leg of their prog journey before adopting a more mainstream rock switcheroo.

The band had been building momentum up to "Free Hand" which was released before but that was really the last year prog was en vogue before the changing tides ushered in the new wave, disco and punk era. INTERVIEW did not fair well in these musical eddies and got panned both critically and suffered commercially but in reality, INTERVIEW is a fascinating development from "Free Hand" in many ways although it is in many ways the very continuation of its excesses. This collection of seven tracks was presented as a concept album that engaged in a faux radio dialogue and even incorporated a bit of chit chat in between tracks and at the beginning of the album. The lyrics reflect the band's experiences within the music industry and trials and tribulations of being an "outsider" band that existed on the fringe of what was popular.

INTERVIEW has been a divisive album amongst fans with some loving the bold new statements on board musically speaking and others who deemed the album as driving off the cliff from which the band would never recover. Personally i'm on the love it side of the equation. While clearly a slight detour from the magnanimous brilliance that graced the band's first seven albums that began on the self-titled debut and culminated with "Free Hand," INTERVIEW is hardly the waste of time that so many have made this out to be. In fact in many ways, GENTLE GIANT had created a business as usual sort of album replete with all those frenetically tight-knit progressive workouts that incorporated jittery time signature antics, wildly creative vocal harmonics, polyrhythms and those utterly unique pseudo-melodies that were part jazz, part rock and part who knows what it was!

While all those scrumptious GENTLE GIANT-isms are full abundance and at times on steroids with power organ swells, guitar riffs on fire, exotic scales interwoven into the fabric of the musical tapestry, many seem to dwell on the aspects that set this album apart from all its predecessors. Perhaps the most noticeable comes on the second track "Give It Back" which to the fans' chagrin committed the crime of implementing reggae into the mix and thus receiving the wrath of those who cried that the band was going contemporary and following trends. Oh for bleep's sake. The song is brilliant. Reggae is nothing more than a form of musical syncopation and GG wove it into the proggy musical canvas like champs. It offered a slightly contemporary feel that the band eschewed on earlier albums but so what!

Overall the album is chock full of tasty knotty musical workouts, some of the most daring and energetic of the band's entire career. Take the guitar soloing on "Timing" for example. Gary Green delivers some of the best guitar work on ANY GG album and the mix of polyrhythms that incorporate piano rolls, violin screeches and multi-layered percussive tracks is stunningly brilliant in its depth. It is true that one can hear some of the poppier aspects of the future albums like "The Missing Piece" starting to come into play but at this point everything is still decked out in an over-the-top prog frosting which makes the cake that much more sweeter. My guess is that INTERVIEW comes off as a lot more abstract than the album's prior and it fails to deliver the same emotional connection for all its technical excesses may be a little show offy for some. Personally i find this album every bit as compelling as what came before. The end of a long line of great albums where the train stops, the prog band disembarks and a new mainstream musical group boards.

I will go as far as to say i enjoy this one much more than "Free Hand." It has all the elements only amplified several notches. The times were a-changing and GENTLE GIANT, despite appealing to musicians and seekers of eccentric complex prog who worshiped this band like gods, had run out of time as even the popular prog bands were waning in popularity. As far as the classics of GENTLE GIANT are concerned, INTERVIEW is the last great album to emerge from this ridiculously gifted group of English rockers. True that three more albums would be made and they weren't all that bad either for what they were, but to my ears INTERVIEW is one of the most brilliant prog albums ever made and more than holds its own in relation to the seven albums that preceded it. I seem to be in a lonely room with that opinion but i personally love the extra elements that they added. I'm actually quite fond of the reggae and new wave elements tucked in here and there. The secret to loving the heck out of INTERVIEW is by NOT comparing it with what came before. It is its own unique little slice of heaven.

 Endless Way From You by WORM OUROBOROS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.09 | 16 ratings

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Endless Way From You
The Worm Ouroboros Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Back in 2013 an unknown eclectic prog rock band from Minsk, Belarus emerged and took the prog world by storm with its own retro sounds that included some of the usual suspects such as Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Jethro Tull, Magma, National Health and Hatfield & The North among others with a touch of modern day flavors a la Birds And Buildings and a touch of avant-prog from Univers Zero, Present etc. But after proving to the world that this Eastern European band led by Sergey Gvozdyukevich (keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, flutes, vocals) and Vladimir Sobolevsky (electric & acoustic guitars) had the chops to deliver some serious modern infusion of prog styles with the debut album "Of Things That Never Were," they all disappeared into the ethers and haven't been heard from since. Until the year 2019 that is.

The old saying that real musicians have day jobs is still quite relevant well into the 21st century and such is the case with these prog stalwarts who do whatever they do all day and only have time to craft their musical visions in their spare time. Add to that the perfectionist streak that keeps musicians continuously re-recording until they "get it right" and it has taken six long years for THE WORM OUROBOROS to deliver a satisfactory followup sophomore album titled ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU. Add to that, the band's previous label, AltrOck ceased to exist and other annoying delays kept the project at bay for what seems like an eternity in the prog world as years slip into the great cosmic history books. However all is good and i'm happy to report that THE WORM OUROBOROS has delivered a satisfying stellar slab of modern prog based in the retro traditions and captures the essence of its previous album without sounding like a mere retread.

ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU is a rich sounding album with many instruments providing the tones and timbres of a classic prog rock sound. In addition to Gvozdyukevich's swirling synth swirls, bass and guitar heft, Sobolevsky's accompanying playing on the same instruments and Mikhail Kinchin's jazzy drum rolls, this album features Vitaly Appow on bassoon, Alioina Sukilyan on oboe and Alexandra Gankova on vibraphone, xylophone and timpani. The album consists of nine tracks and is just shy of the 80 minute mark which makes this a lengthy listening session with two of the tracks stretching past the 13 minute mark. The length of the album is a result of the intention of two albums that have been merged into one. The first was supposed to be a more uplifting positive vibe style of album and the other a darker bleak sounding one. The squirmy WORMS kept this album in that theme with the lighter side appearing first and the darker as the second half.

The opening track "Cycles" is composed of four segments that correspond to the daily cycles of morning / day / evening / night as well as the cyclical nature of nature. The other lengthy track "The Reality You Can't Stop Dreaming" is on the darker side and simulates the changing scenery of dreams and nightmares, the latter of which is discovered to be true after waking up. The track was inspired by horror and giallo movie composers such as Fabio Frizzi and Ennio Morricone. There is a recurring bird theme as well such as on "Quest of the Kingfisher" and "The Whistler Shrill." The band also was helped by members of Rational Diet (now Five-Storey Ensemble) to record the woodwind parts. While other tracks are shorter, many are nearer the eight minute mark. "Stone And Lydia" as well as the birdie songs all generate a series of passages through proggy instrumental workouts with clever compositional workouts that exude a classic 70s sound.

Overall this second edition of THE WORM OUROBOROS canon is a much mellower affair with less emphasis on heavier rock aspects and if you ask me this one reminds me most of classic Camel as it's light and airy with an extra helping of retro keyboard sounds. The mostly instrumental processions also add to that feeling of albums like "The Snow Goose" coming to mind. The woodwind parts instill a folky vibe to the mix but there are still plenty of guitar and bass sounds to anchor this within the greater prog universe, it's just that they play a subordinate rhythmic role in relation to the more active winds and keys. This is an excellent second coming from this fine Belarusian band from Minsk. While the playing time may be a little too long for a single listening session, there are no disappointing tracks to be heard however there is less variation on this album than the debut and tracks begin to sound quite similar. While i still feel this band hasn't latched onto a true distinguishing sound and reached its full potential, there is no doubt that ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU is a beautiful prog release that will particularly thrill any retro prog lovers who dig classic keyboard sounds.

 Metaphysical Animation by METAPHYSICAL ANIMATION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Metaphysical Animation
Metaphysical Animation Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Metaphysical Animation were an American band formed in 1968. The album cover you see here is for the original 1973 double vinyl release of 50 copies. However, what we have in reality is the 2019 CD release by the Italian label Black Widow, with much more interesting cover art. It's a slightly coloured, semi-abstract and a bit Escherian white drawing on a black background, metaphysical animation handwritten in white on the left upper corner. The band page info is based on the narrative printed on the innerfold (which is an excerpt from an album review in the Internet). There was one detail in the info that I concider a little awkward. "1973 when progressive rock was new". If this music was made around 1969, that would make more sense. THEN we might even talk about a groundbreaking work, but in 1973 this kind of prog was more of a yesterday's thing. I would compare this to the eponymous 1970 album by QUATERMASS. Only that here the electric guitar is the biggest hero, not the organ.

There's 63 minutes of music. In my opinion, it's not only breathtakingly intense but in the end quite samey all the way, that listening to it entirely makes me tired of it every time. That I'm not a big fan of this (or this kind of) music naturally doesn't mean it wouldn't be good in other criteria. Can't deny the quartet was one hell of a band with loads of skill and energy -- in playing, if not necessarily in songwriting. In short, this is mostly fast-paced and fusiony blues-rock. The vocals of keyboardist Bill Sabella are rather ballsy and use heavy vibrato in the similar vein as the vocalists in Beggars Opera and Uriah Heep. I wonder why the unnamed blog writer cited in the innerfold compares it to Jon Anderson. "As for the vocals, here is where you'll see the strongest Yes influence. They're definitely Anderson-like, but not in that overly high-pitched and strained style that some Yes-influenced bands insisted on." Anyway, on the whole I agree that if you imagine a ballsy heavy blues-rock band with an energetic sound dominated by electric guitar and organ, and influenced by Mahavishnu Orchestra and early Yes, you're more or less on the map.

The lengths of the eight tracks vary between five and thirteen minutes. The longer they are, the more they have solos (the organ solo on the highlight piece 'Better Way' is excellent) and the more they have a jam-like feel. The instrumental 9-minute opener 'Two Songs in Space' is also among the highlights. It has an awesome, psychedelic space rock groove, and the guitar of Alberto De Almar is simply speaking in tongues -- by the way, there's a brief citation of the Beatles tune 'Norwegian Wood'. But as I said, towards the end this long album tends to make me tired. The moods of the pieces are rather similar (groovy and 'bluesy' in an uplifting rather than moody way). Both guitar and organ play intensely fast melodies. Even though the vocals are in the end quite sparse, they are maybe the biggest reason for the feeling of sameness when thinking of the songs themselves.

If you like Quatermass and that kind of instrumentally oriented, jam-like and fiery blues-rock from the late 60's/ early 70's era, this is for you.

 Sunrise by SAHARA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.83 | 46 ratings

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Sunrise
Sahara Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars A hidden gem from Germany that I didn't have a chance to discover until having listened to hundreds progressive rock albums before. Out of three albums, I acquired the latter two ones and what a high quality prog rock that is. You can recognize group's ambitions by not only using progressive elements but also throwing bluesy, folky and classical elements. Nick Woodland has always been a versatile guitar player and he provides lyrics in English for this album. Singing is very good, in English, and inspired by late' 60's and early 70's folk music. Two keyboard player show off a vast array of keyboard sounds including church organ, Moog, hammond. The first song is a nice 7-minute ouverture with some bombastic sounds. "Circles" brings warm harmony vocals, bluesy harmonica, Hammond and a laid-back feeling. Also, don't miss out a nice acoustic guitar solo that slightly goes into a bluesy one. "Rainbow raider" borders with a harder-edged rock, it has an aggressive bass guitar, emotional guitar solo as well as organ/deep synth tandem making the sound majestic before turning into a jazzier territory with guitar and Moog. "Sunrise" is easily the most ambitious song or suite with its 27 minutes. Starting off as a Camel-spirited work (judging by flute and odd-rhythm), there is a lot of complexity by guitars, drums and keyboards with irregular rhythm. By now, you can recognize some Yes influences. Thankfully, singing is limited on this piece and instruments take the lead. The work graduates by rising and decreasing tones, similar to some Blue Effect stuff from the same years. Very progressive!

Although Sahara has not influenced or brought about revolutional elements in their music, their execution and ideas are baked together into a very tasty cake that will please almost everybody.

Look for a remastered edition that contains two live tracks, one of them being Sunrise with 23 minutes :-).

A masterpiece of German progressive rock! 4.5 stars.

 Vanquisher by BOB LAZAR STORY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
2.50 | 2 ratings

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Vanquisher
The Bob Lazar Story Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars After far too long, The Bob Lazar Story are back with their fourth album, and for those who have yet to come across them then they describe themselves as "purveyors of tritonal wankery, and offer an oasis of ProgMathsyFusion to soothe your weary earholes,' so there. If that isn't enough, band leader/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Matt Deacon is the only prog musician I have been able to have a beer with here in the Garden City (Christchurch NZ, not WGC UK), as he also departed from the UK many years ago to settle in Aotearoa. What I have always found quite intriguing about the band is that there are based around Matt and drummer Chris Jago, both originally Scousers, but Chris is based in Los Angeles which makes both composing and recording somewhat interesting as they work independently to create something which sounds as if they are bouncing ideas off each other. Also of interest to fans of the band is the reappearance of Mike Fudakowski on bass, who appeared on the second album 'Space Roots'. I asked Matt what had happened with Mike and was told 'Fud was heavily involved in an 8 year-long Dungeons and Dragons campaign and couldn't be disturbed. He escaped with his life, just, and I brought him back on board for a few tunes.'

With album art which link to previous releases, a weird obsession with something called a 'foodstool', and a predilection for things very hot and spicy (hence the cover this time around), it is safe to say that this band are quite different to what else is around, and that's before we get to the music. For Matt and Chris the world revolves around Frank Zappa, although in recent years there has also been an influence from Cardiacs. Complex and complicated music, which at times also includes quite a sense of humour, one would never realise the two main musicians are on either sides of the Pacific ocean as they weave their patterns.

There are sixteen tracks with a total running time of less than forty minutes, and some of them are just off the wall skits not to be taken seriously at all, while others build and develop, all the time showing there is a future for instrumental progressive music from artist who refuse to conform to any given idea of what that should be like. Definitely for fans of Zappa, 'Sing To God' era Cardiacs, and progheads who don't want their music to be too serious.

 Metropole Orkest: E For Orchestra by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.91 | 3 ratings

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Metropole Orkest: E For Orchestra
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars When Adrian Belew and his Power Trio created the album "e" in 2009, he expressed a desire to eventually do it with an orchestra. When the original and extremely talented line up of his Power Trio went their various ways (though Julie Slick would return as bassist when Belew expanded the Power Trio in 2019), he put that dream to a reality and in 2011, self- released the orchestral version of the suite.

This time around, Belew put his soloing guitar in front of the "Metropole Orkest" with Jules Buckley conducting this 52 member ensemble. This time around, the album would be split up into 5 distinct tracks that would easily separate the 5 suites which were still named after the first 5 letters of the alphabet.

As Belew begins playing his guitar solo pretty much the same way as the original version, you start to wonder if this guitar/orchestra combo is just going to end up being a pretentious show-off album for Belew, but when the brass echoes his initial theme, you get the feeling that this album is going to have a lot more depth than that. As the first track continues, you know it is more than just Belew repeating his parts as the orchestra tried to copy the layers of loops that accompany the original version, as the orchestral parts take over the main lines at times and at others, Belew comes to the fore, but not as just the main artist here, more as part of the orchestra, and this turns into a veritable and amazing Electric Guitar Concerto.

The music continues to be as complex as it was on the original version, but the orchestra just brings in even more atmosphere, dynamic, depth and even excitement, giving what was already an amazing performance a new life. You can hear the recurring themes that were apparent in the original version, and you know this is definitely a composed and concise work by Belew, and not just an improvised work. Interestingly enough, it still retains its King Crimson attitude with its complex arranging, and if you are familiar with the original album, then these themes will be familiar, but with the added treat of being interpreted by an orchestra. But Belew just doesn't bring in his experience with KC to this composition, now that it has the orchestra involved, you can hear his time with Frank Zappa is also quite apparent. Take a mix of both, and you will get an understanding of what this sounds like.

This album might be a bit tougher to find than the original "Power Trio" version, but being able to have both is well worth the search. If you were impressed with the original, then you should be impressed with this version also. You still get plenty of Belew's experimental style, but with the dynamic of an orchestra. You might not have the amazing work of the Slick siblings on this version, but this version doesn't take away from that, nor does it reside below that version. Both of them are great and this composition should be recognized as the masterwork that it is.

 Adrian Belew Power Trio: E by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.23 | 37 ratings

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Adrian Belew Power Trio: E
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars Adrian Belew formed a group to perform and record music that could be grouped apart from his solo works. This group was called 'Adrian Belew Power Trio' and consisted of Belew on guitar, Julie Slick on bass and her brother Eric Slick on drums. Belew was impressed after seeing them perform with the Paul Green School of Rock and formed the trio for the purpose of touring and performing his solo material along with King Crimson and Frank Zappa material.

The album that is simply entitled 'e' is the project's first album and was released in 2008. The album has 11 tracks, but is actually made up of 5 mini-suites, each one named after each of the first 5 letters of the alphabet. The music is created by adding layers of loops playing over each other, and then adding parts and solos over the top of the loops. The album itself was made live while in the studio.

'a' starts off the album and is a 3-part suite that makes up the first three tracks. The first part is a quick guitar solo at moderate speed, but the 2nd part brings in the entire trio with the layers soon kicking in and quickly sounding very cool and experimental, not unlike King Crimson, yet definitely unique. All 3 performers are quite amazing, Julie plays a tricky desending bass riff that starts and stops its descent in unpredictably, but constantly moving while the drums play complex rhythms that are also completely astounding while Belew plays his quirky, sometimes harsh, but always intriguing style. Rest assured that if you are afraid this sounds more like the less-accessible Projekcts from King Crimson, then you have nothing to worry about. It is more of a style inbetween the Crimson most people know and love and the experimental side of Belew. The 3rd part continues on falling into a more of a pattern, with Belew's improvisation swinging, groaning and sailing over the amazing support work of the Slick siblings.

'b' is also made up of 3-parts, the first part being almost longer in and of itself than the preceding suite. This one is a bit chunkier with a hard riff and contrasting guitar layers. Underneath it all, the amazing bass flies around performing tricks that are almost as crazy as Belew's own playing. The Slick's were both quite young when they started out, Eric only being 11 when he was brought in as the regular drummer for the Paul Green School of Rock, and Julie was only 13 when she started playing bass, quickly becoming an amazing bassist. Just listen to this and you'll understand how awesome they are, then consider the fact that they are doing this live-in-studio. This suite pounds along quite impressively for a while, but in the 2nd part, it becomes more laid back, but with guitar notes cascading down from the stars, but soon the music builds tension as Belew throws in some of his phrasing, connecting his notes almost like a steel guitar and making them wail against the repeated notes that build tension atmospherically, and then ending with a rapid fire track that has each instrument playing counterpoint while the drums show off a bit themselves.

'c' is only a single part, but lasts over 6 minutes. The percussion on this one is a little more regular and steady while the guitar and bass slowly build becoming more intense as the track rolls on. 'd' is divided up between 2 tracks. It starts off with layers of Belew's playing along with a repeating subdued staccato playing underneath. Stylistic and almost symphonic sounding percussion comes through intermittedly, but halfway through, it everyone kicks in creating a complex and exciting sound, again intense and heavy. Belew has expressed that he would love to hear this music performed by an orchestra, and upon listening to this and the complex lines, it is easy to see why that would be an intriguing idea. After a section where the guitar almost sounds like a flute, the 2nd part returns to a more linear sound, but builds even quicker, almost becoming like a condensed version of the first part. 'e' is also divided up into 2 parts, the 1st one being rather quick at under 1 minute and featuring Belew improvising pensively and the 2nd part being over 7 minutes. The 2nd part sounds like a syncopated chromatic scale ascending and desending quickly, the drums push it along and then the bass is forced in. A melodic line is played where the guitar sounds more like a synth, and then the trio plays off of the ascending and desending scale, improvising and creating quite a cavalcade of thematic elements and using them against each other, most of these done from Belew's layering, while the bass and drums even get some time to show off. The coolest thing is the piano-sounding line pounding and twinkling along while the bass thrums out a rhythmic pattern. Very cool.

In 2010, Eric was recruited by the band 'Dr. Dog' and is still the drummer for them, and Julie later released some solo work and also participated in the 'Crimson ProjeKct' tour, Marco Minnemann replaced Eric temporarily for the 2010 tours, and then Tobias Ralph took over as a permanent member of the band. Fortunately, we have this recorded document that attests to the talents of Adrian, Julie and Eric, but it is a shame that it has mostly been ignored, especially from the King Crimson and Projekcts crowds, because this music is just as amazing as anything else put out by the different KC incarnations at the time. Highly experimental, but surprisingly very enjoyable and more accessible than you might think. It is all instrumental, but it is music of the highest caliber and deserves to be considered one of the best KC albums that isn't a KC album. After hearing this, you know why both Zappa and Fripp brought Belew into their bands. Highly recommended for real KC lovers, Eclectic Prog lovers and those that love excellent and innovative guitar music.

 Three Of A Perfect Pair by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.28 | 1119 ratings

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Three Of A Perfect Pair
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 307

King Crimson is one of the most innovative and experimental prog bands that already ever existed. The band, in fact, incorporated diverse and many influences and instrumentation during their long history, including symphonic, jazz, classical, psychedelic, heavy metal, hard rock, folk, and electronic music. So, somehow, we can say that King Crimson is a truly eclectic progressive band, probably the most eclectic progressive rock band that already ever existed.

"Three Of A Perfect Pair" is the tenth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1984. The album is a balance between the more experimental "Discipline" and the more commercial and accessible "Beat". It's divided into the left side and the right side, with a third side added in 2001 with six bonus tracks. The album and title song's concept is based on the idea of perfect opposites and three sides to every story with, his or hers, and with an objective truth.

The line up on the album is Robert Fripp (guitar), Adrian Belew (lead vocals, fretted guitar and fretless guitar), Tony Levin (backing vocals, bass guitar, Chapman stick and synthesizer) and Bill Bruford (acoustic and electronic drums).

"Three Of A Perfect Pair" has nine tracks. All songs were written by all band's members. The left side has five tracks. The first track is the title track "Three Of A Perfect Pair". It opens the album with tight harmony vocals from Belew that soar over top of some intricate guitar work from Fripp and a great drum work of Bruford. This is a very solid track that continues the King Crimson's sound of the previous two albums and it can be compared with some of those songs. The second track "Model Man" is a lovely and emotional ballad that sounds as an 80's new wave song. It isn't a great song, but once again Belew's singing it wonderfully, besides developing his musical taste. The guitar work is experimental and very good again and all the other instruments are also played very well. The third track "Sleepless" begins with a fast bass line that is soon joined by Bruford's bass drum beat and Fripp's altered guitar sound. This is probably the most 80's song on the album, but it still sounds very nice. However, this is probably my least favourite song on it. The fourth track "Man With An Open Heart" is a very solid rock ballad with some clever and interesting Japanese motifs, that reminds me of David Bowie and Talking Heads. This is probably the closest to 80's pop sound that they ever got and give us the opportunity to enjoy some cooler guitar lines and the smooth singing of Belew. The fifth track "Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)" is a very soft track cool and moody, that might fit very well on an earlier 70's science fiction film. It has beautiful mellotron passages with that Fripp groovy guitar tone that he first experienced on "Epitaph", which sounds as a koto, picking high up on the string and leading a weird Asian accent to the piece of music. The right side has four tracks. The sixth track "Industry" is an instrumental track with its ominous drums and stick bass sounds very melodic with its delicate synthesizer work. It sounds positively very industrial and it probably represents the pinnacle of a new musical approach of the group, on this right side. This is an excellent track that musically explodes in all variety of directions and where all bands members show the full limits of their creativity. The seventh track "Dig Me" is one of the most King Crimson's experimental songs from the 80's. It's a very impressive track with an incredible musical execution that sounds very strange and with a disturbed vocal harmony that swings in all the chaos. The song switches between madness and stability, a song on the verge of falling apart completely. The eighth track "No Warning" is another instrumental and experimental track that sounds very dark like "Industry". It's another very enjoyable song with a slight psychedelic touch. Its instrumental and mood again are strange and experimental creating a final result with a very unique form very dark and effective. The ninth and last track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part III)" has nothing to do with the previous two versions. It features familiar rhythms to the first two sections, but it's much different. The sound is far more electronic and is the shortest part of the trilogy. It sounds like a modernistic update version and it's not as bad as some detractors have claimed. It seems to me an appropriate end to this album.

Conclusion: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is divided into three parts. We have the left side, the right side and a mysterious third side. So, as the name indicates, we have three of a perfect pair. Confused? I can see why. Even I'm not totally sure about it. But we may say there is a relative separation between the pop and the progressive parts. Still, this dichotomy isn't absolute. There are a number of interesting effects on the left side, especially on the title track, but there is also "Man With An Open Heart", which is one of the weakest King Crimson's songs. However, the majesty of the right side largely compensates the weaknesses of the left side. The style of the right side reminds me the masterpiece of Davis Bowie, "Low". So, "Discipline" is one of the essential King Crimson's albums and "Beat" is, somehow, a mixed bag and is clearly the weakest of the trilogy. "Three Of A Perfect Pair" is between the other two. So, it's strongly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 For All The Clowns by SAHARA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.86 | 52 ratings

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For All The Clowns
Sahara Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Sometimes it takes you to see a band in a concert and read in a local press before you get to know them, especially when the band is unknown in the international space. I managed to miss Sahara this way. While not a gem, it rightfully deserves attention for the two high quality albums - Sunris and For all the clowns. The music on that album is well crafted and played rather than virtuoso and you can see British such as Jethro Tull, American as well as local German influences such as Krautrock. Melodies are strong, the vocals OK and my most favourite instrument are keyboards. The band is still alive and does perform from time to time, recommended to acquire their music and/or attend a concert in Germany!
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16 DEADLY IMPROVS United States
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AKT Italy
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AUDIENCE United Kingdom
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IL BERLIONE Japan
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