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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 20/06/2017

Rob (Epignosis)
Sagi (Sagichim)
Logan (thellama73)
Kevin (Magnum Vaeltajas)
Ian (Tapfret)

Eclectic Prog Top Albums


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

4.61 | 3700 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.54 | 2913 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.49 | 1766 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.42 | 2489 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.42 | 1881 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.35 | 1443 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.31 | 1420 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.30 | 1342 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.29 | 1659 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.29 | 1304 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 732 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.28 | 1289 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.25 | 1296 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.23 | 1214 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.27 | 465 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.27 | 417 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.20 | 645 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC - PART TWO
Beardfish
4.25 | 365 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.16 | 752 ratings
SPECTRAL MORNINGS
Hackett, Steve
4.11 | 1863 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

NOT OF SOUND MIND
Zapotec
CLOSE GRIP
Gourishankar, The
SNAFU
East Of Eden
AEROLIT
Niemen, CzesŁaw

Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 Hard Chargin' by DREADNAUGHT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Hard Chargin'
Dreadnaught Eclectic Prog

Review by KingRukus

4 stars The adventure begins with the cover, a phantasmagoric melange of images: a Polar bear, a mummy, a half-naked chained slavegirl, a speeding red General Lee-type car (all of which turn out to be characters in the songs) boldly arranged like an iconographic movie poster, with the title "Hard Chargin'" streaking across, some Tarantino / Rodriguez / Carnahan mash-up, a poster for a movie that was never made, or rather a movie that gets made anew in your mind every time you hear the soundtrack.

Have a Drink with Dreadnaught: the music begins with this jaunty, bouncey tune, a straight-forward upbeat rocker that is as close to anything "conventional" you are going to get on this disc. A psi-fi warbly keyboard theme interjects like an escaped flying saucer from a B-52's album, and with lyric lines like "spread your seed on the new grid" and "there's a polar bear!" we are in another dimension indeed! (Is that you Modine?) The lyrics to this tune, btw, refer to a story (penned by Geoff "Red Fez" Logsdon) about the band playing in some quasi-mystical bar where dead rock stars live and Duane Allman beats on Dennis DeYoung's balls with a bat, and you can hear his Broadway-worthy vocals howling into the night. You should read it sometime. Have a Drink With Dreadnaught.

Gaudy Baubles: it gets a bit more exotic here with strange effects on the instruments, proof in the pudding of the "veritable [&*!#]load of analog effects pedals" mentioned in the credits. And good for them! Let's hear more outboard effects than all this inboard added-later stuff! The impression of a movie soundtrack holds, a movie for your ears ala Zappa's "Hot Rats". Flute makes an appearance in the sonic mix to great effect.

That's The Way That You Do it (My Way) Suddenly Mr. Bungle roars in, a demonic distorted voice over a fast Ska?type beat, then a micro burst of Steely Dan-ish chords, like a window thrown open on The Royal Scam album, LA Fusion, then slammed shut by Bungle again, a riotous mob of hooligans chanting. This is where the adventure truly begins for me. And its only a 58 second song.

Takin' a Ride with the Fat Man (Fatta Fatta Puck Puck) the Bungle comparison continues for me here, and since I use Bungle as a touchstone / symbol of a certain type of radical genius (in your face energy / unpredictability / a will to craziness) it is one of the highest compliments I can give. I don't know about this fat man or what his deal is, but riding with him sounds like a night on the road with Mr. Toad on acid. A happy driving-down-sunny-highway melody "takin a ride with the fat man / takin a ride / fatta fatta puck puck! (my old percussion instructor taught drum parts by singing them ? "dakka dakka flubba flubba bang!" ? and you have to sing along with them to see how well it works) gives way to pantonal Mothers of Invention-like vocal parts. Rhythmic patterns come and go before you can fully get a grip on them. The music changes constantly then exuberantly unravels into a drum solo, toms rolling down a stairwell. It's over and then it isn't. This song gets the furry kitchen sink thrown in, and reminds me of an old review of Yezda Urfa where the writer advises "don't fight it just let it run bug[&*!#] thru your brain". That is good advice for Dreadnaught and their music: just let it run bug[&*!#] thru your brain!

A note on comparisons: I hear (and you will to) many similarities in Dreadnaught's music, snippets of Dixie Dregs chicken pickin', Zappa / MOI style humor, Bungle manic-ness, pick your favorite band that makes the notes jump thru hoops and do circus tricks. The band members draw from the vast palette of styles and sounds that are now available to us courtesy of the most musical century in our history. The way they put it all together is uniquely their own. Dreadnaught reminds me of many great bands yet they sound like none of them. They have their own style and sound.

Bo-Leg-Ba: One of my favorite tunes. Sounds more like "Ber-Leg-Ba" to me but no matter J Does it have anything to do with the magical-liminal figure Pappa Legba of Voudon mythology? It sounds Caribbean in places so maybe? Happy fun music, makes you wanna dance naked on the beach. And the drum sound is awesome, the toms ring round my head, I can feel there resonance as if I am sitting amongst them as they are played.

Express Delight ? More movie for your ears exoticism. In fact this whole album is the most avant / noisey Dreadnaught recording yet. Sure, meaty slabs of odd-time prog rock riffage abound, but the music is just as likely to go off into left-field noise-scapes as anything. Moments of beauty emerge amidst constant change. The Rock-In-Opposition (RIO) label applies here as a handy guide.

That's The Way That You Do it (Your Way) A return to this lyrical theme but this time as sung by a Hank Williams / Jimmie Rodgers yodeling cowboy in a honky tonk. "That's the way that you do it / that's the waaaayyyeeeeee!" I milk much hilarity out of imagining a drunk Hank groanin' an slobberin' his solo into a mic-driven distortion pedal, as he would have to do on this song! That's the waaaayyyyeeeeee!

Gets the Grease: More slice of avant garde sound sculpture, like something off Zappa's Uncle Meat, but with sax and ethereal piano, to my ears an unintentional echo of American bands like However and The Muffins. Atmospheric.

Slave Girls: My favorite tune on the album. Meaty slabs of odd-time monster riffage stalking thru the forest, knocking over trees. It Rocks! Then?completely different territory, a lilting violin plays a traditional American-sounding melody like something from Copeland's Appalachian Spring. Heartbreakingly beautiful, brings tears to my eyes.

Mummies of The Cobbosseecontee: Actual title that. More movie for your ears, sweeping, cinematic, ambient and noisey. Epic. Goes everywhere. Honestly I haven't heard it enough to fully know what it is. It's an instrumental. Let the ending riff run bug[&*!#] thru your brain!

That's The Way That You Do It (Our Way) Ends on a return to this theme, but now sock-hoppy and poppy. The Grease car flies away into the sky as the credits roll. Did I "get the Grease" there? WTF did we just hear / see? Have to play it again! 

 Heroes by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Heroes
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by LastSonOfGallifrey

4 stars Since this is my first review for Progarchives, I'll keep it short and sweet. I really like the newest line-up of King Crimson, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've heard from them. This latest EP includes a handful of tracks that we have heard from this line-up before, as well as a terrific tribute to the late David Bowie on the title track. Since Mr. Fripp played on the original "Heroes", I've always thought it very appropriate that he would, from time to time, have KC perform this song in concert. I quite liked the version from the Heavy ConstruKction box set, but I feel that this version is even better. While I love Adrian Belew in and out of KC, I never felt that he was quite right for any of the material that was not a part of the albums he was recorded with them. His sometimes nasal vocals did not, I felt, fit into 21st Century Schizoid man, and they weren't a perfect fit for "Heroes" either. I think that Jakko truly outdid himself on this new version of "Heroes", and would highly recommend this EP for Crimson and Bowie fans everywhere.

I docked it a star for the unfortunate edit on Starless.

 Three Of A Perfect Pair by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.26 | 999 ratings

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Three Of A Perfect Pair
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Even prog has a "post-" era: 8/10

For people who aren't familiarized of KING CRIMSON's, and particularly, Robert Fripp's peculiarities - the paradigmatic frontman -, the philosophy that moves them is based on expanding the boundaries of music and exploring the most enigmatic melodies. The reason they're called "Eclectic prog" is exactly thanks to this characteristic: they're much experimental, at the verge of avant-garde music boundaries. That's the reason why the band is so respected and influential - as you can see, it has a little more to do with just releasing IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING.

THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR is part of the post-progressive KING CRIMSON era. Fripp sort of acknowledges that the progressive movement, especially its foremost principles, are dead. He preferred, then, to preserve prog's original objective of musical expansiveness with different methodologies, which culminates in DISCIPLINE, founding a genre that is originated from prog, but isn't prog itself. It is distinct as because of its differentiated basis - most notably the art and avant-garde rock genres, as well metal influences -, and its name is the aforementioned post-progressive.

It is the 80's, though. Britannia's waves are ruled by a new, synthetic wave: the new wave. Legend foretells KING CRIMSON's DISCIPLINE's innovative new stylistic symbioses majestically with the trend. THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR, though, maybe has the post-progressive theoretically homogeneous avant-garde and pop alloy a little worn out, as it shows, rather than comfortable balance, a downright polarized, peeling physiognomy: at one side it is pop and the other is uninviting experimentation.

One characteristic stands out in the entirety of the album: it's unsettling and neurotic (and gloomy). It is, in a certain way, wearisomely uncomfortable. Tracks that are supposed to be upbeat new-wave progressives feature strange melodies that just doesn't feel right: it is disturbingly unnerving. Andria Belew's vocals, sometimes, do too seem rather uneasy. Luckily, though, it is not a mysterious, ominous otherworldly presence haunting the listener: it's just Fripp's guitar tuning that sounds eerily off - or for some, eerily on, as the item described is the legendary Frippertronics.

With this in mind, the new wave face sounds, simply put, rather twisted. It is VERY enjoyable, but also dark and distorted: this is KING CRIMSON after all, and this is their interpretation of new wave (just don't think of doom rock or something). Three of a Perfect Pair is the opener and least creepy sounding track. It feels as a sadder but highly complex Synchronicity I (yeah, that keyboard frenzy by THE POLICE). It is followed by Model Man that, although light, feels tense. Sleepless is mildly sinister and features an absolutely spectacular bass line by Tony Levin. In fact, this is one of the albums with the biggest bass presence I've heard. Man With an Open Heart just... doesn't sound right. It's not even a bad song, it is simply that the Frippertronics do not fit well, and it is too simple-hearted for my taste.

Nuages introduces the second, avant-garde, side rather gently, as it is a mostly melodic and a rather psychedelic-synth-led track. Industry is dark, virulent, menacing; while resonances of terrified instruments take the lead, the background is monopolized by periodical bass picks and drum beats and a hopeless, unsettling synthesizer. I boldly claim this to be a precursor of experimental industrial metal. Dig Me is dissonant and cemeterial, blending Industry's madness with the first side's relative radio-friendliness. No Warning injects too much psychedelia and percussion on the listener vein that causes an unpleasant overdose.

Lastly, there's Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part III, the high point of the album. It gains momentum after Fripp's introductory tapping section, culminating into a short-lived ecstasy of amazing Bruford drumming, followed by electronic Frippertronic riffs and maddening distortions. Not an absolute masterpiece, instead it is a delightfully fresh track.

I've been introduced to the post-progressive era of KING CRIMSON through unorthodox methods, as recommendations agree that DISCIPLINE is the optimal greeter. In a certain way, listening to THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR before the aforementioned piece was a fruitful move to give this an unbiased, natural opinion. And it goes a little like this: THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR synthesizes progressive elements on new wave much more masterfully than their neo-prog contemporaneous movement, for in a certain aspect it is much truer to its roots. Wicked, enjoyable, and challenging - especially the second side -, KING CRIMSON releases a thoroughly creative piece that can easily meet any music fan's expectations and taste, because, for as much as it is new-wave-ish and weird, it is eclectic. Well, maybe it is not fiercely successful as its predecessors, but as Paul Hegarty says, "If we do refer back, then we should not use the classic phase of progressive rock as a fixed point to determine what was to follow". Individually, THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR is thought-provoking and breaks the paradigm, so it's enough to call it a day. (opinion might change after I listen to DISCIPLINE/BEAT)

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1342 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The art of being avant-garde while not being avant-garde: 10/10

THE POWER AND THE GLORY features not only complex songs but also intricate concept and thematic that are much better explained by others than it can be by me. It features some of GENTLE GIANT's best tracks such as Proclamation, Playing the Game and The Face. It features the most insane arrangements they could've come up with, which so happens to be their best as well. In this album, the band represented, in the prog scene, the groundbreaking fellas of the bunch. Throughout their discography, it's noticeable the exponential increase of complexity, which as I see so far culminated in their most compelling and challenging work, that is THE POWER AND THE GLORY.

They constantly sculpt their music on the most bizarre, unintuitive but still amazing shapes, with terrifying odd time signatures that are actually common time and chaotic polyrhythms that feel as fluid as common time. We observe constant experimentation without losing enjoyability, in a form that, although completely chaotic, is still easily identifiable as music, with normal instruments, normal sounds, made by normal people, to normal people.

Their music is perfectly avant-garde in the strict sense of the word's definition of experimentality, as even for their context - the epoch of creativity of early 70's - they were considered unusual (not complaining). Paradoxically, however, GENTLE GIANT can't be considered part of the Avant-prog genre because their crafts and compositions are absurdly fluid (not complaining either), to the point it's rather ludicrous to say they are maddeningly adventurous in their sound - a characteristic of the avant-garde genre, but not necessarily of avant-garde people and groups themselves.

GENTLE GIANT was and still is indisputably one of the most mind-blowing bands of progressive music. They break our spine and our soul on what is common so masterfully they really remind me of MESSHUGAH's fame. In this way, if MESSHUGAH is the princes of polyrhythms and translates that into power - powerful extreme metal, GENTLE GIANT is the king, translating it into the purest form of glory - glorious classic prog rock.

 Newcross by NEWCROSS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.82 | 2 ratings

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Newcross
Newcross Eclectic Prog

Review by jayem

4 stars Some may suspect it was failed emulation of King Crimson 80 sound for the math sequences and guitar tones; singer Steven Cade reminds me of Belew. Even if it was true to me it was a happy failure ! The band has its own ways, colours, dynamics and identity. The non mainstream mixing choices have their own charm.

Newcross leaves me the feeling of stuff worked out in distress, and in every piece some transitions and structural elements as well as chord sequences i'd have gone for changes ; but it stands for ingredients I miss very much in music of nowadays. Tuvalu live is at times the closest I've listened to from later bands and I'd like to know more !

 The Second Mechanism by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 126 ratings

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The Second Mechanism
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars British band Diagonal released a very impressive self-titled debut back in 2008, with the seven member band of young musicians playing a mix of retro styled prog with a modern, heavy and youthful indie-rock energy. Sax, clarinet, flute and recorder weaved around pounding piano and eerie electronics to suggest a Van der Graaf Generator influence, although admittedly the album was somewhat let down in parts by rather flat vocals. Still, the album was strong enough to gain the group a strong `word of mouth' buzz that suggested they were one to watch, although the band would sadly lose just a bit of momentum by taking four years to record the follow up, but hot-damn, was the wait ever worth it! 2012's `The Second Mechanism' sees the band tearing through five lengthy and eclectic instrumentals (although the one track to feature vocals this time is an improvement on the debut), full of aggressive playing, delirious yet seamless constant changes in direction and a noisy daring unpredictability. Imagine a mix of Anekdoten, the Mars Volta, Van der Graaf Generator, Anglagard and King Crimson with a touch of Post Rock, and you're a little closer to what the band take even further.

Throughout opener `Voyage/Paralysis', eerie twitching electronics are torn apart by pounding call-to-arms drums, vibrating mud-thick pulsing bass and serrated electric guitar ringing. In just over six minutes, the band also dart through deranged spiralling synth freak-outs, angular jazzy diversions and dirty sax droning - phew, got all that?! `These Yellow Sands' adds a pinch of Post Rock build and is unsurprisingly (with that title) lightly flecked with stormy eastern vibes, adding chiming guitar mystery, crystalline electric piano sparkles, relentless drumming and ghostly sighing low-key cries, and sax that moves from dusty wafts to honking blasts, stormy rumbles and manic up-tempo bursts bring back that Van der Graaf Generator flavour of the first album. `Mitochondria' floats through wandering melancholic bass over spectral piano and lonely horns before picking up in-tempo and furiously bouncing through a thunderous manic rumble of jagged stop-start guitar spasms, drum battery and haunting maddening sax - plenty of power and tension in this one!

The second side's `Hulks' introduces a sparingly used doomed weary regal vocal that, alongside murky bass, droning distortion, rising/falling electronics and constant cutting sax/guitar slices twisting in unison, helps capture that despondent mood similar to bands like Anglagard and White Willow at their most drizzly, and there's plenty of dark unease bubbling under the surface. Slowly unfolding ambient synth washes coat `Capsizing's background (and is that a touch of the Mellotron buried in there too?), but the piece rapidly grows in restless momentum and has the band all delivering break-neck soloing, the highlight being some fuzzy bass vibrations, infectious sax runs with stirring clarinet and noisy jazzy breakdowns that are deliciously darkly grooving. It's a little more upbeat than the previous tracks, so ends the album on a somewhat warmer note.

Sadly since its release, the band seem to have gone rather quiet (worryingly their website has vanished and their Facebook page hasn't been updated in almost two years), which might suggest the group may have finally folded, but let's hope it's just the calm before the storm of their next release. There is too much exciting potential, completely evident talent and top-notch playing on display here, and if anything, `The Second Mechanism' sets an indie-prog, vintage-meets-modern standard that more bands and listeners should have been paying attention to. Completing surpassing the already great debut, it's a cruelly ignored disc that deserves a new lease of life and rediscovery, no matter how belated.

Five stars.

 None Of The Above by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.77 | 59 ratings

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None Of The Above
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by CliffX

5 stars After more than 35 years of Prog in my life, here arrives NONE OF THE ABOVE. A big fan of VDGG since early 70's, always thought this band would be forever underrated. The same with Peter Hammill. The other Peter conquered the world with more accessible (very good) material, but this Peter would continue in the underground world. Since the 70's the music wasn't the same. Creativity ended up in the late 70's and comercial times arrived. In 2000 this beautiful CD appeared and I bought it with curiosity. I think this album is perfectly magical for a listenner like me, who was tired of unsuccessfully searching for new and fresh music. Never thought it was so damn good! It is dark like all VDGG but fresh at the same time. I'm a guitar player myself and I think Peter did a very good job with the guitars. He is a fairly good piano player too. Great songs, sound ambients, lyrics, majestic hymns (Astart) like the old times. It´s a nowadays masterpiece.

 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.92 | 1583 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Orpheus-keys

4 stars Due to being sandwiched between highly-acclaimed 1973's Larks' Tongues In Aspic and 1974's Red, - one may find it easy to understand why Starless and Bible Black gets overlooked. Before the recording of this album, experimental percussionist Jamie Muir left the group leaving Bill Bruford as the sole percussionist. Perhaps in order to compensate for their loss; this album features some of Brufords' most wacky percussive ideas which often consist of organic-sounding, highly polished staccato rolls. Guitar-wise, Robert Fripp takes on a more subdued, fairly noisy yet accompanying role for the majority of the album and often the time in which you can hear him at his clearest will most likely be the gentlest sections. Musically Starless and Bible Black is a game of two halves; - Side One has six short-to-mid-length pieces, two of which are complete instrumentals. It begins with 'The Great Deceiver' which is a very cluttered and disonnant song and it's also the closest you'll hear to a 'rock' song on this album. To follow up is 'Lament' which is a very dynamic piece of music for its short length. A gentle ballad for the most part but with a tendency to spiral into syncopated-riff mayhem. 'We'll Let You Know' is a very representative song of the album as an entirety as it showcases very archetypal Crimson quiet improv jamming with flashes of vibraphone swirls and a hazy backdrop; yet it fails to fo find its drive nor find its purpose. 'The Night Watch' is a nice vocal-led quiet song with a quasi-political undertone yet lacks real accessibility and enchantment. 'Trio' and 'The Mincer' are both left-field, experimental and mostly instrumental songs which are quite in keeping with the general mood of the album however they're not tracks one would listen to outside of the album's context. Side Two is entirely instrumental and consists of two long tracks, the first of which is the title track 'Starless and Bible Black' which is nine-minutes long and for the most part very sleepy and inconsequential. Flashes of inspiration appear throughout but at this stage it fails to capture one's attention entirely. 'Fracture' is a massive improvement and easily my personal favourite on the album; a composition solely written by Fripp and lasting eleven-minutes. The track is incredibly dynamic and undergoes many interesting key changes, mood changes and time signature changes. It begins quietly yet springs into life with a quintessentially scary and dischordant ending section akin to 'The Devil's Triangle' from 1970's 'In the Wake of Poseidon' .. and then the album finishes.    Overall; - a sprawling and ambitious work by Crimson which often gets slated due to its high focus on noodly inprov-driven instrumentals and fuzzy production values, yet I personally like it as it's quite exotic and very different. It has a certain aesthetic charm to it that only those who have listened will understand. Definitely one of Crimson's most left-field releases yet full of moments of euphoria and high levels of musicianship.  
 Such Fine Particles Of The Universe by BUBBLEMATH album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.86 | 23 ratings

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Such Fine Particles Of The Universe
Bubblemath Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars I was not familiar with this band before listening to this album which gets my attention with a review of their last album. The music is very original and quite funny if not insane at times with many twists from jazz music, to Prog rock using multipart vocals sometimes close to Zappa, Izz, Gentle Giant and Echolyn. The musicianship is impressive and the compositions are intense with many crescendos with some heavy passages which make this band a heavier version of all the bands mentioned above. There are some furious instrumental parts between many versatile vocals parts that show a different kind of tones from the modern era and the punk alternative era. The complexity of their song structures is easy to digest with the good dose of humor the band infuses to their music, the jazzy atmosphere, and the lyrics. This another great discovery for me, just what I need to pick up the latest album.
 Present by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.63 | 450 ratings

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Present
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

2 stars It was nice to hear VdGG reforming in 2005 and giving us a new 2-CD set, Present, with the classic lineup, Peter Hammill, Guy Evans, Hugh Banton and David Jackson. Unfortunately this album really left me cold. Now I don't expect it to be on the level of H to He Who Am the Only One or Pawn Hearts, even Godbluff, besides how can you? Those were very difficult to top by any standard. But at least still make the music well worth hearing. I realize this was 2005, not 1971, so I expect a bit of an updated approach, which I do get here. Except for "Every Bloody Emperor", with some really scathing lyrics on politics (recording during the middle of the George W. Bush administration in the States), the rest of the album really felt like they simply didn't have it in them. The second disc seems to get the most maligned as apparently VdGG doesn't do to well as an instrumental outfit (although they were responsible for a killer rendition of George Martin's "Theme One", which appeared as a single, but this was back in their early '70s glory days). That same reaction gets applied to ALT, the instrumental companion to A Grounding in Numbers. Nothing on that second disc to Present leaves an impression on me so I can see why reactions to their instrumental stuff isn't so hot. But to me I didn't find them any worse than the vocal numbers on the first disc.

To me, I really think Van der Graaf Generator could have done better, given their track record. I know they didn't have to be just like Pawn Hearts, nor do I expect anyone else to think that, but they could do better than what they did on Present (I hadn't hear the others they released since, though).

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Eclectic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
16 DEADLY IMPROVS United States
17F Switzerland
4/3 DE TRIO France
8 DAYS IN APRIL Germany
A.C.T Sweden
ABRETE GANDUL Chile
ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE United Kingdom
ABSURDCUS Romania
ACADEMIE OF FARSIDE Indonesia
ACINTYA France
ADVENT United States
AFFINITY United Kingdom
AKO DOMA Slovakia
AKRITAS Greece
AKT Italy
JEAN-PIERRE ALARCEN France
ALBATROS Germany
ALCO FRISBASS France
ALEXL Brazil
ALGERNON United States
ALLOMERUS Australia
ALON United States
ALPHA RALPHA France
ALQUILBENCIL Spain
ALQUIN Netherlands
ALTABLANCA Argentina
ALTAIR Spain
ALTERNATIV QUARTET Romania
ALTERS Poland
MICHEL ALTMAYER France
AMPLEDEED United States
APERCO Israel
COSTE APETREA Sweden
APPLE BELLS Poland
ARBATEL Mexico
ARDO DOMBEC Germany
AREKNAMÉS Italy
ART AND ILLUSION Italy
ARTCANE France
PETER ASHBY United Kingdom
THE ASHQELON QUILT Israel
ASTRID PRÖLL Puerto Rico
ATHELSTONE Malta
ATLANTIDE France
AUDIENCE United Kingdom
AUDIO VISIONS United States
AUNT MARY Norway
AVE ROCK Argentina
AVIATOR United Kingdom
ÁVORA DI CARLLA Brazil
AXON-NEURON United States
BAD ALCHEMY United States
VLADIMIR BADIROV Uzbekistan
BAG France
DAVID BAGSBY United States
BAKU LLAMA United States
FRANCK BALESTRACCI France
BARBARO Hungary
BARRACUDA TRIANGLE Sweden
AL BASIM Iraq
BASTA! Italy
BATABEAT Canada
BEAR IS DRIVING United States
BEARDFISH Sweden
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IL BERLIONE Japan
MICHAEL BERNIER United States
BIRDS AND BUILDINGS United States
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THE BOB LAZAR STORY New Zealand
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CONSIDER THE SOURCE United States
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CRÓ! Spain
THE CRYSTAL SUN United Kingdom
CULPEPER'S ORCHARD Denmark
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DAAL Italy
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DARK AETHER PROJECT United States
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS United States
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FLIGHT United States
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FROM.UZ Uzbekistan
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HALF PAST FOUR Canada
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INTERFACE Japan
INTERPOSE+ Japan
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ODYSSEE Germany
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OPERATION: MILKSNATCH United States
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HET PANDORRA ENSEMBLE Netherlands
PANGÉE Canada
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THE PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
PENTWATER United States
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PINGVINORKESTERN Sweden
BRUNO PITCH France
THE PITTS MINNEMANN PROJECT United States
PLAMP Switzerland
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PLATURNO Chile
POETICA IN SILENTIO Netherlands
LAURI PORRA Finland
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PROGRES 2 Czech Republic
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PSI VOJACI Czech Republic
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PURGE SOLENOID United States
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QUARTETO 1111 Portugal
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SIMON RAILTON United Kingdom
RAW MATERIAL United Kingdom
REDD Argentina
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ROOTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS United States
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ANDRES RUIZ Argentina
THE RUNNING MAN United Kingdom
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SBB Poland
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SEVEN IMPALE Norway
SFILTROM Slovenia
SFINX Romania
SHAMBLEMATHS Norway
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SHINSEKAI Japan
SINATLIS TSELITSADI (THE LIGHT YEAR) Georgia
RIKARD SJÖBLOM Sweden
SKALDOWIE Poland
SKE Italy
JÓZEF SKRZEK Poland
SKY United Kingdom
SLEEPY PEOPLE United Kingdom
JULIE SLICK United States
MALCOLM SMITH United States
SIGMUND SNOPEK III United States
SOLUS3 United Kingdom
SOM NOSSO DE CADA DIA Brazil
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SPECIMEN13 Canada
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STICK MEN United States
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STORM CORROSION Multi-National
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SYLVIA BLISS United States
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SYRIUS Hungary
TAAL France
TAGYERIT United States
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TCP United States
TELIOF Israel
TELLAH Brazil
TERRENO BALDIO Brazil
THIEVES' KITCHEN United Kingdom
THORS HAMMER Denmark
TIME United Kingdom
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TMN Switzerland
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TRAFFIC United Kingdom
I TRENI ALL'ALBA Italy
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TRIPCYCLE Serbia
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TU United States
TULLY Australia
UK United Kingdom
UMLÄUT Australia
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD United States
UTOPIA United States
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR United Kingdom
LAURENCE VANAY France
JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER France
VELUDO Brazil
THE VIRIDIAN GROOVE Venezuela
VISITOR 2035 United Kingdom
VISITORS France
VISOKOSNOE LETO Russia
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VOX NOSTRA France
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VY Puerto Rico
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WLUD France
WOOLLY WOLSTENHOLME'S MAESTOSO United Kingdom
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THE WORM OUROBOROS Belarus
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XL Finland
YEAR ONE United States
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