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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 1/3/2020

Ian (Tapfret)
Mike (siLLy puPPy)
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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 | 4364 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.56 | 3474 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.48 | 2157 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.43 | 2275 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.42 | 2997 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.35 | 1752 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.32 | 1729 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 2046 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.30 | 1674 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.30 | 1576 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.31 | 907 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.28 | 1568 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.27 | 1595 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.25 | 1468 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.25 | 591 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.24 | 502 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.25 | 419 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.19 | 740 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC - PART TWO
Beardfish
4.13 | 2248 ratings
LIZARD
King Crimson
4.23 | 332 ratings
DECALOGUE OF DARKNESS
Daal

Eclectic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

AEROLIT
Niemen, CzesŁaw
SNAFU
East Of Eden
MAREK GRECHUTA & ANAWA: KOROWÓD
Grechuta, Marek
CLOSE GRIP
Gourishankar, The

Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 World Record by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.83 | 813 ratings

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World Record
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars To fully grasp the vigorous and suffered potential of the group we still think that we must look back to their past, "World Record", the seventh work of the Van der Graaf Generator, and the penultimate product of their classical formation if we calculate that the, double, "Present", has been accused of lacking that nonsoché vandergraaffico; others, on the other hand, have observed, conversely, that it is free from self-indulgence and that it is so direct that it lends itself to listening on several occasions.

The truth is - as often happens - in the middle: the disc is from 1976 like the previous "Still life", and evidently the songwriter Peter Hammill, obscure investigator of his own and others' tortuosity, was ready for a slightly different writing, more fluid, but not in a manner, because it does not imitate itself but rather thins its expressive veins giving it greater - listen, hear - catchiness, so much so that it can serve, for the uninitiated, as an introductory work to the production of the British group, also for the sound dynamics of the recording, closer to current standards than their first classics and further improved in the Virgin remaster.

The raucous and pompous grit that vocally commands the center of the stage is always in its place, the lyrics continue to be existential and tense, without easy consoling exits, and the group follows the leader following him with his characteristic timbres halfway between the psychodramatic outburst and the acid parable as a sermon in the deconsecrated cathedral, see the organ by Hugh Banton and the sax by David Jackson, here free to improvise more than usual in spaces where the soul melts and recomposes itself in lava streams. The line-up, with relative instrumentation, is as follows: Guy Evans (drum kit and percussion); Hugh Banton (Hammond organ; synthesizers; acoustic piano; bass and bass guitar pedals); Peter Hammill (vocals; electric and piano guitar) and David Jackson (alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones (acoustic and electric) plus flute). But the most explosive ideas seem to have been stored for the two previous albums, and, in my opinion, for the next one, in which, despite separating from Banton and Jackson (also for financial reasons), the sound is both electrifying and moving, thanks to the inclusion of the violin of the expert Graham Smith instead of the sax. But let's now pass to a reconnaissance of the songs that make up this album, "Disco-Mondo" whose artwork is proposed as the highly iconic illustration of the dark energy with which discs like this seem to burst from the very belly of a disturbed world that lets it be torn apart by the centrifugal force of certain painful musical confessions about the materiality of survival in a vulgar present, marking a sort of "World Record" of lyrical self-harm.

Those who already know VDGG, listening to songs like "When She Comes" or "A Place To Survive", cannot fail to notice that something in their style has changed: the compositional approach of the four is somehow more spontaneous, almost jazzy. A very important role is played by Guy Evans' drums, whose regular rhythms are followed by quite catchy organ riffs, sometimes voiced by the sax. On this sound plot, decidedly unusual for a band that in the past had so loved to create dark and gothic atmospheres, stands the unmistakable voice of Hammill, who, now "speaking" now singing, punctuates every syllable of his always perfect lyrics. The vocalist, however, unlike what happens in "Still Life", leaves great space for the solo rides of his companions, especially Dave Jackson, who has the opportunity to express his talent in long solos. The next "Masks": after a sweet opening, dominated by a sax that leaves you breathless, the song proceeds calmly, and then decisively picks up the rhythm in the central part, led by the electric guitar. Finally he takes up the initial theme and ends with an infinite and painful cry from Hammill. The singer, in particular, provides here one of his best vocal performances ever. Evidently the enigmatic story he talks about (a man, who hid all his feelings and emotions behind a mask, when he took it off, discovered that he no longer had a face) must have been very dear to him.

However, at least in my opinion, it is the 20 minutes of "MeurglysIII" that alone is worth the price of the record. Meurglys is the name of Hammill's guitar, and it is to her that the song is dedicated: the multi-instrumental leader talks about it as his best friend, the only one he can believe in, the only one capable of understanding him and helping him to go through the difficult moments of her existence simply by playing and composing new songs with her. A truly heartfelt and profound text that of this piece, which cannot help but strike all of us little composers who try to write songs with our acoustic guitar or with our piano, and then take refuge in the world created by our pseudo-texts ...

Oh well, I wanted to focus on his lyrics, but it should be emphasized that "MeurglysIII", from an instrumental point of view, is perhaps the most successful test of the VDGG. Banton's organ no longer plays "riffettini", but builds again the sonorous cathedrals of the old albums, supported by the strong foundations of Evans, who manages to keep really impossible times. The suite doesn't have as many different parts as "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers" (from Pawn Hearts), but it still manages to alternate schizophrenic moments dominated by Jackson and his bloody sax, with calmer parts, decorated by the voice. But the absolute protagonist of the song is her, "MeurglysIII". This time Hammill does not just use it to accompany himself, but launches into complicated phrasing and sudden interventions worthy of the best Robert Fripp. The last 5 minutes of the suite host a superb dialogue between Meurglys and Jackson's sax, which seem to compete for who can find the most absurd sounds. Exciting.

Wondering, a soft ballad in the tradition of pieces like "Refugees" or "House with no door", benefits from the warm tones of a synthesizer that supports the framework of a crepuscular and disturbing hymn, but is the height of the poignant, for music and Thematic: in the text one wonders ("Won-dering ...") if everything one has tried, experienced, thought during one's life was only a dream, and the impression is that whoever asks for it has gone through the thresholds of being and is now in another dimension overlooking the river Lethe.

To conclude, my opinion on this "World Record" is more than positive. However, although moments of pure musical ecstasy are touched in the suite, the album has several weak points, and this does not allow me to give it full marks. An object that, however, cannot be missing on the shelf of those who love this great band.

 Illáchime quartet by ILLŔCHIME QUARTET album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.08 | 3 ratings

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Illáchime quartet
Illŕchime Quartet Eclectic Prog

Review by mr_ethanwolf

3 stars Illáchime Quartet's Self-titled 2004 release isn't without it's draws, in fact for the most part I think it's relatively okay, but there is the unavoidable feeling that the album lacks detail in such a way that it often limply fades into the background.

There are certain charms to the whole thing that will inevitably please me as they do in any other album: basslines that drive the music forward; dissonance; contradicting musical ideas played simultaneously. It's because of this that the first track, Monopolio Della Noia, is clearly the standout of the album, containing within it not only these charms, but some wonderful ideas that are carried out to their limit. The beginning sounding like a typical late-90's post-rock track with these non-distinct industrial noises that act to set the backbone of the piece. Eventually we are led into the track by guitar, bass, and keys playing a delicate melody that seems to twist itself into a helix. It is in the mediation between the brighter aspects of this track and the much darker, narrower sounds where I think the thing truly shines. Eventually it caves into a slightly weak prog-rock excursion before coming to some bowed strings. Despite the tracks memorability, I have to say I wish it didn't end so...stagnated. It's as though they forgot the driving force of the song and decided to throw in an average ambient string piece to get it over with.

The three other tracks within the album have their moments but it would seem that, as it progresses, so too does the impression it leaves on me shallows. The second track, Cortile In Mockba, has some texturally interesting electronic beats reminiscent of Ulver, but ultimately it drifts into a kind of average ambient piece that ebbs and flows, coming up for air in time to, again, do a sort Perdition City off-shoot, which in fairness to it isn't bad, it's perfectly okay, but it isn't brilliant either. The final track, Silos, is okay enough, but it does feel as though by this point they've left their opening statement as it were, the balance between conflicting brightness and darkness, far behind them in favour of a more linear instrumental album.

Overall I think that, while a little inconsistent and losing it's momentum as it progresses, the album is ultimately okay. If anything, Monopolio Della Noia is worth a listen.

 A Fury Of Glass by ROSSA, LA album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.29 | 16 ratings

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A Fury Of Glass
La Rossa Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 439

La Rossa is a French progressive rock band from Toulouse. It's half-composed by French and German musicians. The band was founded in 1980. Their name was taken from a Van Der Graaf Generator's composition with the same name that appears on their sixth studio album "Still Life", which was released in 1976. This can give to us a general idea of the musical content of the band. However, besides the clear influences of Van Der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill, we can also see some clear influences of Yes, Gentle Giant and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, besides classical influences.

La Rossa released their only album in 1983. The line up on the album is Benki (vocals and acoustic guitar), Jean- Pierre Baile (guitars), Wolfgang Holler (keyboards), Dino De Rossi (bass guitar) and Marc Neves (drums and percussion). The album had also the collaboration of Robert Licciardi with some additional acoustic guitar work. As for the music in itself on "A Fury Of Glass", it's quite emphatic and structurally very complex, as well as created on irregular rhythms. Some frenetic piano parts which are obviously influenced by the classical composer Béla Bartók, accentuate the fever, the urgency, the music's obvious romanticism as well as its tension and its dramatic intensity. But fear not, there's zero radio rock in this album of this French/German band. Perhaps it's not a mindblowing album. Still, the album is rich and filled with a refreshing energy. The selling points are arguably an eccentric vocal delivery and the richness of keyboards. The vocals, both tortured and full of feelings, evoke Peter Hammill. I hope you like the sounds of the piano, because this album is drenched with them, but in a good way. A more laid back and pastoral feel appears sometimes to contrast the hectic side of the material which can get pretty schizophrenic like in "This Unbreakable".

Speaking about the tracks, the album has twelve tracks. Still, I believe that the original track list ended with track nine, but a reissue expanded it to twelve by adding three songs that were initially cut. So, this new Musea reissue also includes those three excellent and previously unreleased studio tracks, recorded before the album was then issued.

So, we are in presence of another obscure symphonic progressive rock band brought to us by Musea. La Rossa's, "A Fury Of Glass" is a very welcome reissue for all progressive rock fans, indeed. Featuring excellent keyboard work played in the classical style, and solid musicianship from the guitarist, bassist, and drummer, this album sounds like it would be at home being released on the symphonic progressive side. Instrumentally, it's very strong, with fast and furious playing from all musicians, in particular from the keyboardist. His emphasis is on the acoustic piano, which is the center point of many of the tracks, and it's great. Still, the vocals are competent at best, and tend to be high mixed and intrusive. The singer's accented English and the dramatic style, detracts from what would otherwise be a very solid performance. While La Rossa doesn't break a new ground in terms of style, they do add an interesting twist within the established boundaries of symphonic rock. Fans of that style may enjoy this album despite the vocals. As I mentioned before, the comparisons include Emerson, Lake & Plamer, Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, ELP and Asia Minor, mainly.

"A Fury Of Glass" highlights the singer who is as theatrical as Peter Hammill. Both vocals are very similar at times, but still more similarities reside in the vocals of The Waterboys' singer. Speaking of them, "A Fury Of Glass" is also close to a folk rock album with both that piano leading the way and elsewhere the acoustic guitar, imposing the rhythm and supporting the words of the singer. La Rossa's pianist is simply superb. I like the piano and organ at many points during the album, especially during pieces like "To The Life". I can hear him playing all day. Compositionally wise, it's a wild ride, too. It took me ages to find the whole album and it's definitely a nice gem, the walking bass on "The Unbreakable" is just spot on. If you keep the time they're clearly following the tempo, the album sounds incredibly raw and genuine. This is certainly an album that I could certainly listen very often. It probably will sound better with time.

Conclusion: "A Fury Of Glass" is a very eclectic album with music influenced by Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, Gentle Giant and above all, Emerson Lake & Palmer, as well as the classical music. As I mentioned above, the name of the band, La Rossa, wasn't certainly a coincidence. The influences of Yes, or if you prefer, the influences of Rick Wakeman are very clear, especially on the first track. I can also see influences of Triumvirat, which isn't a strange thing due to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The vocals, sometimes reminds me Eloy, mainly due to the German accent. In general, the tracks aren't very long. The short pieces contain nice piano parts and the long pieces have some really great and intricate instrumental parts. The great highlight on the album is, in my humble opinion, "Faces We Move", which is a great track, really. This band deserves certainly some credit and praise for putting up a so good and competitive progressive album in 1983. We can't really forget that the 80's were very troubled times for prog rock music, indeed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 A Black Box by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.95 | 258 ratings

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A Black Box
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars "A Black Box" saw the light in 1980 and comes soon after courageous and innovative works such as "The Future Now" and "PH7" even if the long "Flight" suite was composed before "PH7". At that time his career had taken an uncompromising direction and obstinately more and more distant from the music business. It is an atmosphere of desolation that emerges from the grooves of this record: the expressive dryness of certain sound solutions bring "A Black Box" closer to the contiguous New Wave sounds even if Hammill still maintains its own intelligible language. tronconi: side A of the vinyl includes seven short and concise pieces that were composed after the "Flight" suite to complete the album and give it greater length: this does not mean, however, that they are mere fillers, indeed in these sound sketches there are some of the best pages written by the English composer.

With the essential support of synth, drum-machine and guitar, the first side begins aggressively with "Golden Promises". The following "Losing Faith in Words" is introduced by a bleak keyboard and the song manages to involve thanks also to typical aggressive voice of Hammill and then immediately leave the scene to "Jargon King", a recited piece dominated by the drum-machine and by experimental synth effects, certainly one of the most atypical songs of his repertoire. which is confirmed by "Fogwalking" where the guest David Jackson peeps out with his sax to punctuate what is uo of the top of the record: a ghostly piece that takes us on an imaginary journey in a misty panorama of the soul. Short "The Spirit", with "In Slow Time" Hammill gives us another unforgettable page full of dark atmospheres characterized by the massive use of synth. "The Wipe" is an experimental sound sketch that closes the first part of the album.

Then comes "Flight", which with its 20 minutes originally occupied the second side of the vinyl of "A Black Box". It is certainly the highlight of the record that begins with subdued notes of piano and acoustic guitar and then unfolds in a variegated sound mosaic in which quieter moments alternate with typical expressionist and dramatic delusions, to which VDGG had accustomed us. "Flight" is a sort of condensed poem of the present day in which life is compared, through rapid succession of very successful metaphors, to an airplane flight. The piece is a continuous alternation of calm moments and storms in flight, and is all supported by Hammill's functional piano and his, once again incredible voice.

 Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 376 ratings

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Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Van der Graaf Generator has always been one of my favorite progressive rock bands, Peter Hammill being the main reason for that. May 1973 LP "Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night" was released, second solo album by Peter Hammill, after the dissolution of Van Der Graaf Generator, certainly, which took place in a peaceful way, since on the album there are all the members of the band. The production can be a little rough and the structures approaching simplicity. From time to time there is a repetition or "slip", but in the end there are "flaws" that enhance this record even more.

The disc opens through "German Overalls". It features memorable acoustic melodies, confident and diverse emotional vocals often alternating in a tone of uncertainty, caution and in between. It has a full-bodied harmonium at its end that enhances the music, as well as a cathartic electronic/electric flow. The second is "Slender Threads", again a top notch acoustic track, including a couple of extremely pleasant interludes and a perfect main melody. The vocals include occasional louder moments, but are largely a very low, subtle, and unobtrusive resource. In "Rock and Rôle" there is a great hint of Van der Graaf Generator, "punk" sound with electric riff and strong performances by Nic Porter, Guy Evans and David Jackson, his bandmates (in the case of Nic, former partner ). Tasteful piano additions and a cleverly arranged long instrumental bridge positively mark the song. "In The End" is a piano and voice track with great feeling conveyed through the power of Peter Hammill's emotion-laden voice. A beautiful piano bed sets the tone for a beautiful but very nervous interpretation, full of venom, despair and hope whenever the words demand it. "What's It Worth" is the most captivating track on the record, with a beautiful and surprising flute, simple acoustic melody is the flagship of an extremely cozy musical journey. Again, Peter Hammill's vocal performance is also highlighted, very clean and accompanied by an incredibly beautiful harmony. "Easy to Slip Away" is the most different moment on the album. Another piano song and voice with a very high emotional charge, mainly due to Peter Hammill's vocal delivery, something at least sincere, powerful and clear. The track also has saxophone bridges played with the soul, incredible mellotron, in short, a different track from the rest of the album.

"Dropping the Torch" is another acoustic piece from the album very well executed, where the vocals are clean and well organized and everything done with simplicity and feeling. The track that closes the album is "(In the) Black Room/Tower" and it starts with an instrumental explosion. It has chaotic and crazed keyboard effects, flutes, roaring sax, imaginative percussion, lots of vocal harmonies and a shocking and always prominent piano. Extremely complex music that balances chaos and control well and expresses what is conventionally inexpressible. Probably the standout track for most people who listen to the album and are familiar with Peter Hammill's work.

Every song on this album is good, and all of them also have moments of excellence. An extremely moody and expressive record, made mainly for Peter Hammill fans who find his way of artistic expression simply fascinating. One of the best solo works by one of the greatest geniuses in the history of progressive rock.

 In Camera by HAMMILL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.14 | 404 ratings

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In Camera
Peter Hammill Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars After the publication of The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage, Peter Hammill, the multifaceted artist who gave the Van Der Graaf Generator a soul, creates another brilliant album that one never tires of listening to, In Camera, a thick album unique, full of those atmospheres dear to this artist who has earned a place of honor in the Olympus of music and lyrics. Always intimidated in his compositions, even in this work of '74, Hammill throws into all the melancholy and darkness of the soul, touching musical heights that those who have always followed him know how much they are sought after. If you want to let me pass a term appropriate to this In Camera, it is not enough to say that this album is pure orthodoxy because it goes against all musical and compositional metrics, but it is also a sublime concentrate of pure musical madness. Needless to say, here there is prog, proto prog, proto folk, folk in its pure state and the madness is right here, in knowing how to carefully mix all the derivations in this new idea born for most of the pieces in your home?. . but also in hell, in that gloomy darkness that exalts the soul.

"Ferret And Featherbird" is a song not very indicative to understand the disc, both because it dates back to the year sixty-nine and Hammill "exhumes" it for no apparent reason, and because it is a bizarre combination of almost Hawaiian and piano sounds, on which however, he inserts Hammill's beautiful ethereal cantato. Song that leaves you speechless. "No More (The Submariner)": this is where the record really begins, with the synthesizer of David Henteschel chilling the blood at the opening of the piece by simulating the crazy sound of a siren; then the bass is added, and in the central part the synthesizer of Henteschel and the superb piano of Hammill cross in divergent and concentric flights, to form an aerial-sonorous skirmish; then at minute Three \ Forty a pause, the restart, and finally the continuous echoing cries of Hammill to close the piece. "Tapeworm" is another exaggerated piece, worthy of being on an album by the former Van Der Graaf Generator: it is a strongly rock piece, dominated by a round of piano chords with a fixed pattern, by David Jackson's saxophone increasingly thirsty for slaughter. and from the shocking drums of Guy Evans that hits hard in this piece like never before; in the central part Hammill also gives us one of his usual cabaret interludes that we remember for example. "Again" seems to be the usual ballad for acoustic guitar, but here, and perhaps for the first time, Hammill reaches the state of "beautiful song": it is above all, indeed I dare say entirely, to the poignant bass that accompanies the acoustic guitar from central part of the song onwards. "Faint-heart And The Sermon" ("The Weak And The Sermon" should mean) is another peak, and here is always Henteschel maneuvering a beautiful synthesizer, skillfully contoured by Hammill's bass and piano; the refrain is singsong catchy, but then it turns into Hammill's "usual" elegiac song, significantly strengthened in the finale by an effect of Henteschel's still intrusive and powerful sirens. "The Comet, The Course, The Tail", another acoustic ballad, is almost linked to the desperation of "Viking" in "Fool's Mate": even here we find an overbearing bass that imposes its shots, machine-gunned, this time. The song works all right, especially thanks to Hammill's singing, unsurpassed in my opinion in modulating certain epically tragic musical tones. "Gog and Magog (in Bromine Chambers)" is a real mini rock opera that harks back a lot to progressive and gothic musicality, a segment full of sound effects and noises where keyboards dominate, and the percussions that project the great artist into other sound experimentalisms.

The fact is that everything In Camera is impressive, a work composed and performed by a genius.

 Petrichor by KEOR album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.20 | 65 ratings

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Petrichor
Keor Eclectic Prog

Review by Michael919

5 stars Quench your PT / SW thirst here

Let get the obvious out of the way, this album sounds a lot like a Steven Wilson project, mostly Porcupine Tree era. In fact, at times sections feel like they are an obvious tribute. Just listen to the fist verse of The Nest of Evil. Sound like Index to you? Keor (Victor Miranda-Martin) clearly took a great deal of SW inspiration on this album, much like he appeared to do with Alice in Chains / Opeth in the previous album, Hive Mind.

Here's the thing, if this WAS a Steven Wilson project recording, it would be a VERY GOOD ONE, considering it end to end. There are no fillers here. The album is very consistent in atmosphere and mood. Dark. Like Storm Corrosion dark and melancholic at times. The heavy parts rival In Absentia at times.

Other influences that come to the surface are Opeth (frequently), Sigur Ros (or similar post rock). There's even a bit of a tribute to the Scorpions and Uli Jon Roth (The Sales of Charron) with the guitar intro, again, in The Nest of Evil.

Ok, no big deal, right? If we disqualify every band that sounded like or copied others at times, we would have very little music to listen to. The art is often in the way the artist combines these influences and adds their own personality to the mix.

This album is full of personality, however familiar. It is a very enjoyable, creative work of art and expression. The compositions are very good with a really nice flow of the tracks. The lead guitar guitar is well worth calling out. It is very restrained in terms of the low number of solos, but where they are included, they are very good. Right up there with many of the heavy prog/metal best. Victor's vocals are nice and authentic, with nice melodies. Of the music itself, the mellow parts, post rock parts and heavy parts are all of equal, high quality. Masterful, really.

If you're a Steven Wilson / Porcupine Tree, late Opeth, or any form of heavy prog fan, you will like this very much. With the direction Mr. Wilson is taking his music of late (he can do what he wants and doesn't owe us a thing!), this might just be the album you need to quench the thirst.

If this was a Steven Wilson album, it would definitely be a 5-star effort. I need to subtract half a star for the originality thing. However, I need to add a half star in tremendous gratitude to have such a great album in this style, to quench MY thirst. 5-Stars!

 In a Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.35 | 1751 ratings

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In a Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "In a Glass House" is the fifth studio album from Gentle Giant and was released in 1973. By the time of its release, the band had garnered enough fans and people had started to acquire a taste for the band's quirky complexities, odd time signatures, and their bizarre way of incorporating folk and modern music in ways that were completely unique to the band. The public even excused the interesting harmonies that didn't follow the norm, in fact, it seemed that more and more, they were craving it. The band had been, at least to this point, fairly lucky with their consistent line- up, and they had only really made a major change in their sound after their first album. So things were sitting pretty good for them. However, before recording this album, they had lost one of their original members; Phil Shulman, who felt that the touring life was ruining his family life.

This would be the first album with the band reduced to a quintet, and it was uncertain how the band would be received minus the vocals and horns that Phil provided. There was a shift in the band's sound to a more guitar- oriented sound, but overall, the basic feel of the band remained intact. But with the uncertainty with this line-up, it was decided to not released "In a Glass House" in the U.S. It's really quite a shame as the album has been somewhat ignored in retrospect, however, at the time, it ended up being the band's biggest seller to date. It has every reason to be recognized, because it is still full of GG's signature styles and sounds, and it easily fits in with the discography of the band at the time. Made up of 6 tracks, 4 of them great, meaty tracks at over 7 minutes each and 2 shorter tracks that help to even things out.

The Runaway - This track has a nice lilt to it through the first few verses, but as the instrumental break comes in, it gets quite a bit more complex. There seems to be a bit more guitar here, albeit a bit jangly, but still quite enjoyable. The marimba in the middle of the song is a great touch too, plus the crazy complexity of the melody keeps it all interesting.

An Inmate's Lullaby - An almost music box quality in the beginning, then two contrasting vocal lines, one of which is interestingly processed, to almost sound like it is coming from inside the box and another vocal line that is more upfront, but less important. There is some quirky interplay between the tonal and traditional percussion instruments, once again with the help of the marimba and the complexity is also there, making this one hard to sing, let alone whistle along to. But then, we are not here to whistle now, are we?

Way of Life - Suddenly more upbeat and heavier. A guitar riff sounds like it is going to define the track, but remember this is Gentle Giant, and it soon veers off into the usual complexities furnished by the guitar and keys. The rhythm tries to keep things "sensible" but that would be impossible to carry that on for too long now wouldn't it. The center section calms down quite a bit and becomes more traditional-folk sounding, losing the percussion for a while, but it comes back in a stately way. Thematic returns help to keep the track grounded even with all the progressive horseplay going on here. The weird repeating organ at the end is a bit of an odd ending.

Experience - This one lightens things up a bit, at least as far as the tone of the track, and is a bit more playful. As a result, it seems a bit weak in substance, but its still signature Gentle Giant. This finally become more intense after 3 minutes in when the vocals become louder and the guitar and hard piano chords take over. The guitar solo that comes later sounds more like it is improvised while the supporting instruments play repeating backup, but then it goes back into progressive structure later.

A Reunion - A short folksy piece with soft singing, string ensemble and such. It's a nice intermediary track that helps to break up the complexity a bit.

In a Glass House - Returning to an upbeat, start-stop style with a nice violin riff. A vocal section, then a tricky guitar lead which leads into a complex lilt. Don't expect anything to sit in one place for too long though, as this one flows along adding in jazz for a nice Canterbury feel which often gives way to rock sensibilities, passing back and forth often. It even finds time to throw in some twangy acoustic guitar just in case you think you've heard everything. Break some glass and get a quick review of the album with some quick snippets of all the songs.

This album ends up being another great album from GG's best years. It is one worth looking for if you are trying to build up your classic-prog library, but it can be a bit more difficult to locate in North America, yet it really shouldn't be ignored. After this point in the band's history, the line-up would not change again, but remain until the split up in 1980, which came about because of the drive of some band members to get a hit record and the desire of other members to return to the band's classic prog sound. At least the band would still have some great albums up their sleeves for a few more years.

 Toccata by SKY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
5.00 | 4 ratings

BUY
Toccata
Sky Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The second album (1980) by the British instrumental band SKY was a double vinyl. For many listeners, including me, it's their best work, and the last one before keyboardist Francis Monkman from Curved Air was replaced by Steve Gray. The latter is a fine musician too, but much of the progressive rock orientation in SKY's music was lost when Monkman departed. This single contains two tracks from Sky2. Although the compositions weren't new, they both are among the highlights in the entire Sky catalogue.

'Toccata' was arranged by guitarist Kevin Peek from the mighty, famous organ composition of Johann Sebastian Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. The powerful arrangement works wonderfully. The prog genre had a long tradition of making rock versions of classical pieces: The Nice, ELP, Ekseption... It's not too often that "rocking the classics" is done with such inspiration. Sky's 'Toccata' uses to the maximum the dramatic essence of the original Baroque composition, and the modern rock instruments make it a tight, exciting, 4˝-minute rollercoaster ride. Especially Monkman's work on synthesizers is marvelous. As a side note: my spouse doesn't like it, she thinks it's extravagant and pretentious, probably the same way that I see some of ELP's wildest pieces. But the pop music listeners at the time did like it: 'Toccata' peaked at No. 5 on British single charts.

'Vivaldi' is a rearranged CURVED AIR piece written by the band's violinist Darryl Way, which originally appeared on their debut album Air Conditioning (1970). It is loosely based on the well-known freezy movement of the "Winter" concerto of Antonio Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni. Frankly, the way Way used to use the piece as the platform for his extended soloing was rather tiring in my opinion. Sky's version, over three minutes shorter, is much more powerful, and a firm group effort in which all give their best without overshadowing the others.

There are two preceding ratings, both five stars. I have no heart to break the line, even though I very seldom give a full rating for a single containing album material only.

 Latin Mass by OS MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.94 | 36 ratings

BUY
Latin Mass
Os Mundi Eclectic Prog

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

5 stars Formed in Berlin in 1970, OS MUNDI was one of the early progressive German bands that was more inspired by American 60s bands than the exploding Krautrock scene of its native homeland. OS MUNDI developed out of the previous band Safebreakers that existed from 1962-66 but was inspired by the German music scene when sharing a rehearsal room with other musicians from the Kraut world. Jam sessions with Manuel G'ttsching and other Krautsters added the sense of musical adventurism and the band evolved its music considerably. This band was also notable for having up to a dozen musicians at a time which earned it the title 'big band of rock music.'

OS MUNDI only released two albums during its initial run and each quite different from the other. LATIN MASS came out immediately in 1970 and stood out like a sore thumb in the early German progressive scene with an eclectic mix of styles and sounds that although rooted in the psychedelic 60s, took on the adventurous nature of the Krautrock scene without really sounding like any of the bands that were in the forefront of its nascency. Primarily inspired by The Electric Prunes' 1968 psychedelic album 'Mass in F Minor' which mixed the heavy psych 60s with traditional Christian liturgical music, OS MUNDI went one step further and sung all lyrics in Latin. The results were quite unusual however extremely well played. One could consider this as taking The Electric Prunes idea and shooting it up with steroids.

Immediately with the opening 'Overture' OS MUNDI gifts the listener with a 60s psychedelic grooviness drenched in freaked out organs that aren't afraid to jump into the mosh pit as far as bringing the instrument and the 60s style to its logical conclusions such was the case with many bands in the transitional year of 1970 that sort of exited right in the middle of the the latter part of the 60s and the prog scene that was blossoming at light speed. While a psychedelic rendition of church music may not sound like a winning combination, the beauty of LATIN MASS is that the liturgy aspects only remain a small element like a canvass to paint upon whereas the psychedelic, prog and Krautrock elements boldly craft a beautiful array of adventures twists and turns that make this album a treat from beginning to end.

The album sort of has a continuous flow that wends and winds from spastic organ bombast to heavy blues rock guitar. Much of the album is nothing more than adventurous jamming but even though a bass driven groove keeps the melodic flow humming along, the contrapuntal Latin lyrics offer a dramatic and often theatrical dominant aspect. The musical grooves are also quite creative in how they change things up with bizarre bass runs and guitar licks. The music offers outbursts into tribal drum circles as well as adding touches of jazzy outbursts before jumping back into heavy organ trippiness. Even atonality and avant-garde freeform avant-prog is explored towards the end of the album after the album has seeped into your very soul.

LATIN MASS was an unbelievably creative album for 1970 with an incessant array of fresh ideas delivered with a fiery passion. The lyrics in the Latin language keep it from sounding like anything remotely German and although the influences are clearly from the American music scene of the 1960s, OS MUNDI successfully eschewed that stilted too late to the game stylistic approach that many trapped in the past were still dishing out. This is what i call the perfect bridge between one era morphing into the next. All the tracks on this one stand out and the tightrope act of accessible melodic grooves with avant-garde adventurism is impeccable. For my tastes, this album is pretty much perfect in how its executed and stands out as one of the most unique of the early prog years. Despite all the creative mojo going on here, it's the variety of organ sounds that make this one an outstanding slice of early psych fueled prog.

Data cached

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
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ALLOMERUS Australia
ALON United States
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ALQUILBENCIL Spain
ALQUIN Netherlands
ALTABLANCA Argentina
ALTAIR Spain
ALTERNATIV QUARTET Romania
ALTERS Poland
MICHEL ALTMAYER France
AMPLEDEED United States
ANAKDOTA Israel
ANANE Indonesia
APERCO Israel
COSTE APETREA Sweden
APPLE BELLS Poland
ARBATEL Mexico
ARDO DOMBEC Germany
AREKNAMÉS Italy
ARMADA United Kingdom
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
BABA YOGA Italy
BAD ALCHEMY United States
VLADIMIR BADIROV Uzbekistan
BAG France
DAVID BAGSBY United States
BAKU LLAMA United States
FRANCK BALESTRACCI France
BARBARO Hungary
ERIK BARON & D-ZAKORD France
BARRACUDA TRIANGLE Sweden
AL BASIM Iraq
BASTA! Italy
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CLÉMENT BELIO France
SERGIO BENCHIMOL Brazil
IL BERLIONE Japan
MICHAEL BERNIER United States
BIOCORD Ukraine
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BLOQUE Spain
THE BOB LAZAR STORY New Zealand
BOOTCUT Sweden
EMMANUEL BOOZ France
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VYTAS BRENNER Venezuela
BRIGHTEYE BRISON Sweden
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C & K VOCAL Czech Republic
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LES CLAYPOOL United States
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