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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 12/31/2013

Rob (Epignosis)
Logan (thellama73)
Sagi (Sagichim)

Eclectic Prog Top Albums


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

4.60 | 3229 ratings
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING
King Crimson
4.53 | 2523 ratings
RED
King Crimson
4.48 | 1512 ratings
GODBLUFF
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.42 | 1615 ratings
PAWN HEARTS
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.40 | 2135 ratings
LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC
King Crimson
4.36 | 1240 ratings
IN A GLASS HOUSE
Gentle Giant
4.36 | 627 ratings
THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE
Hammill, Peter
4.31 | 1230 ratings
H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.28 | 1123 ratings
STILL LIFE
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.27 | 1412 ratings
OCTOPUS
Gentle Giant
4.27 | 1108 ratings
FREE HAND
Gentle Giant
4.26 | 1137 ratings
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Gentle Giant
4.24 | 1107 ratings
ACQUIRING THE TASTE
Gentle Giant
4.22 | 1017 ratings
VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE
Hackett, Steve
4.26 | 371 ratings
ANABELAS
Bubu
4.25 | 342 ratings
BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH
Birds And Buildings
4.20 | 574 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC: PART TWO
Beardfish
4.26 | 301 ratings
MEMENTO Z BANALNYM TRYPTYKIEM
SBB
4.16 | 634 ratings
SPECTRAL MORNINGS
Hackett, Steve
4.11 | 1440 ratings
DISCIPLINE
King Crimson
4.33 | 155 ratings
1000 AUTUNNI
Ske
4.09 | 1608 ratings
LIZARD
King Crimson
4.10 | 929 ratings
THREE FRIENDS
Gentle Giant
4.18 | 282 ratings
BORIS
Yezda Urfa
4.28 | 152 ratings
SBB (WOłANIE O BRZęK SZKłA AKA SLOVENIAN GIRLS)
SBB
4.24 | 182 ratings
SI PARTIE 1
Nemo
4.14 | 344 ratings
MOTORPSYCHO AND STĹLE STORLŘKKEN: THE DEATH DEFYING UNICORN
Motorpsycho
4.17 | 255 ratings
MULTIPURPOSE TRAP
Birds And Buildings
4.19 | 203 ratings
PAMIęć
SBB
4.05 | 756 ratings
THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER
Van Der Graaf Generator
4.08 | 453 ratings
UK
UK
4.12 | 289 ratings
IN CAMERA
Hammill, Peter
4.13 | 237 ratings
BARBARES
Nemo
4.18 | 166 ratings
ZE SłOWEM BIEGNę DO CIEBIE
SBB
4.29 | 101 ratings
AEROLIT
Niemen, CzesŁaw
4.11 | 231 ratings
LAST EPIC
A.C.T
4.23 | 119 ratings
DETTA HAR HÄNT
Gösta Berlings Saga
4.04 | 393 ratings
SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC: PART ONE
Beardfish
4.14 | 168 ratings
DIAGONAL
Diagonal
4.13 | 166 ratings
CITY OF THE SUN
Seven Impale
4.10 | 195 ratings
TODD RUNDGREN'S UTOPIA
Utopia
4.06 | 272 ratings
LADY LAKE
Gnidrolog
4.08 | 202 ratings
BEHIND THE SUN
Motorpsycho
3.97 | 912 ratings
THE POWER TO BELIEVE
King Crimson
4.35 | 71 ratings
NIL NOVO SUB SOLE
Nil
4.06 | 211 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Days Between Stations
4.04 | 229 ratings
NIGHTINGALES & BOMBERS
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
4.02 | 267 ratings
CHAMELEON IN THE SHADOW OF THE NIGHT
Hammill, Peter
3.97 | 496 ratings
MAMMOTH
Beardfish
4.01 | 273 ratings
THE MUSIC THAT DIED ALONE
Tangent, The
4.03 | 230 ratings
THE LOW SPARK OF HIGH HEELED BOYS
Traffic
4.04 | 196 ratings
DODECAHEDRON
Daal
4.12 | 123 ratings
DANCES OF THE DRASTIC NAVELS
Daal
4.00 | 259 ratings
SOLAR FIRE
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
4.22 | 83 ratings
THE APOCALYPSE INSIDE OF AN ORANGE
Rodriguez-Lopez, Omar
4.16 | 99 ratings
PICTURES
Island
3.98 | 273 ratings
LE SACRE DU TRAVAIL
Tangent, The
3.91 | 1356 ratings
STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK
King Crimson
4.23 | 76 ratings
ECHOES OF FALLING STARS
Daal
4.15 | 99 ratings
HAIKARA
Haikara
3.95 | 374 ratings
DESTINED SOLITAIRE
Beardfish
4.21 | 79 ratings
ET CETERA
Et Cetera
3.99 | 232 ratings
LE VER DANS LE FRUIT
Nemo
4.00 | 205 ratings
THE SANE DAY
Beardfish
4.08 | 120 ratings
EVER AFTER
Sanhedrin
4.24 | 69 ratings
SENNA
Mahogany Frog
4.06 | 127 ratings
IMAGINARY FRIENDS
A.C.T
4.30 | 57 ratings
OF THINGS THAT NEVER WERE
Worm Ouroboros, The
4.08 | 115 ratings
SKYMIND
Taal
3.96 | 257 ratings
OVER
Hammill, Peter
4.15 | 84 ratings
MOVIN' ON
Circus
4.29 | 56 ratings
KOROWOD
Grechuta, Marek
4.79 | 26 ratings
SEN BALıK DEğILSIN KI
Gevende
4.37 | 47 ratings
SHESHET
Sheshet
4.06 | 117 ratings
THE FINEST OF MIRACLES
Ciccada
4.15 | 82 ratings
STRANGE IS THIS WORLD
Niemen, CzesŁaw
3.87 | 899 ratings
GENTLE GIANT
Gentle Giant
4.06 | 110 ratings
SNAFU
East Of Eden
3.93 | 253 ratings
+4626 - COMFORTZONE
Beardfish
3.95 | 212 ratings
WOLFLIGHT
Hackett, Steve
4.02 | 130 ratings
SI PARTIE II - L'HOMME IDÉAL
Nemo
4.00 | 148 ratings
NOT A GOOD SIGN
Not A Good Sign
3.97 | 177 ratings
REWOTOWER
Profusion
4.05 | 105 ratings
ENIGMATIC
Niemen, CzesŁaw
4.22 | 58 ratings
ZALMOXE
Sfinx
4.02 | 116 ratings
IN CASE OF LOSS..
Areknamés
4.06 | 96 ratings
BELIEVERS & DECEIVERS
Brighteye Brison
4.16 | 67 ratings
MARIONETKI
Niemen, CzesŁaw
4.21 | 58 ratings
DIALOG S VESMÍREM
Progres 2
4.30 | 46 ratings
ONDE, QUANDO, COMO, PORQUĘ, CANTAMOS PESSOAS VIVAS
Quarteto 1111
3.87 | 391 ratings
GENESIS REVISITED II
Hackett, Steve
3.98 | 131 ratings
A SPARK IN THE AETHER - THE MUSIC THAT DIED ALONE: VOLUME TWO
Tangent, The
4.13 | 70 ratings
PHANEROTHYME
Motorpsycho
3.89 | 257 ratings
JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE
Traffic
4.04 | 91 ratings
SODOM & GOMORRAH
From.uz
4.02 | 101 ratings
MERCATOR PROJECTED
East Of Eden
3.87 | 319 ratings
NOT AS GOOD AS THE BOOK
Tangent, The
3.95 | 148 ratings
2ND HANDS
Gourishankar, The
4.27 | 45 ratings
SONGS FROM A SOLITARY HOME
Major Parkinson
3.86 | 345 ratings
BEYOND THE SHROUDED HORIZON
Hackett, Steve

Eclectic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

CLOSE GRIP
Gourishankar, The
KRYWAN, KRYWAN
Skaldowie
INTERPOSE+
Interpose+
OJCIEC CHRZESTNY DOMNIKA
Skrzek, Józef

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Latest Eclectic Prog Music Reviews


 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.53 | 2523 ratings

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Red
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by marcobrusa

4 stars The rating is not important. This is a masterpiece, but it's not perfect. When i first listened to this album i coud feel my ears and mind expanding.

-Track 1: very dark and heavy, really, more than metal. The feeling i get every time i hear this track is like a revelation of the darkness of my soul. -Track 2: excellent "song". With dark atmosphere. Wetton's timbre fits perfectly. -Track 3: rocking song with solos. Awesome sax solo and guitars. -Track 4: An avant-garde jam that doesn't have anything in particular that i like. -Track 5: The epic. It is a great epic. Unforgettable guitar melody on the intro. Depressive mood. Mellotron and strings give more emotion. The instrumental section starts mysterious and goes in crescendo, ending with that unforgattable melody of the intro.

Listen to this album, it is essential. I gave 4 stars just because of the track 4 which doesn't fit well among the other pieces.

 Haikara IV: Domino by HAIKARA album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.19 | 9 ratings

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Haikara IV: Domino
Haikara Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Just one non-collaborator 2-star review for this comeback album of HAIKARA? No, it's not a great album but definitely deserves more than that. First it must be pointed out that comparing it to the classic stuff from the early 70's won't do it justice. The overall atmosphere is quite warm, calm and harmless, whereas the vintage Haikara is notably darker and perhaps more challenging on the listener's behalf. The Finnish prog output was at this time still very sparse, so it must have been a nice surprise to see the classic 70's acts making their returns to the scene, though with somewhat mild results (and this goes to Wigwam and Pressa as well).

Promisingly only two tracks of six are of the modest 3-minute length (the others from 7˝ to nearly 13 minutes), and pleasantly the album is instrumentally oriented. The sparse vocals are by Vesa Lattunen and the reeds player Jan Schaper. The opener 'Polku' (= a path) gives a good example of the album's strengths and weaknesses. The mellow sound is reminiscent of the seventies, wich isn't a bad thing, but the mixing is not very succesful. Soprano sax and acoustic guitar dominate, while the keyboards are almost buried and the production is a bit thin. Also the friendly mid-tempo dominating throughout the album may make it rather boring and disappointing to some prog listeners. On the other hand it's fairly pleasant from start to end. The compositions are melodic, extended with long instrumental sections.

'Ykseys' (12:43) is the most progressive and lively track, slightly marred by Lattunen's weak vocals. The interplay between sax and guitar is good. 'Lady' is a beautiful, sensitive instrumental track starring acoustic guitar and recorder, having thus a Medieval flavour (compare GRYPHON). 'Gloria Deo' starts with a Gregorian-like a cappella choir in Latin, replaced soon by a rock combo; the rest of the 9˝-minute track is instrumental and among the highlights. The section with a flute may bring CAMEL in mind. The brief closing track 'Kultamalja'(= a cup of gold) is a very delicate acoustic song. I like it.

To some this never would be worth four stars but IMHO the strengths and the pleasant features overcome its weaknesses. Not a masterpiece on any level but a nice, warm and sincere album of melodic, instrumentally oriented prog. 3˝ stars rounded up.

 Poika Pilvellä by HAIKARA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Poika Pilvellä
Haikara Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars HAIKARA may be the third most respected (following WIGWAM and TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI) of the bands in the classic Finnish Prog era. The respect is based mostly on the eponymous debut (1972) and the slightly more uneven Geafar (1974). The third album - and the final one, until the band's comeback in the 90's - called Iso lintu (1975) contains a strikingly uneven bunch of short tracks, though some of them still quite beautiful fusings of rock/pop and Art Music elements.

Each of the three albums were recorded with a different line-up, and this single marked yet another version of Haikara, which was always led by the late great Vesa Lattunen, a multi-instrumental composer. After this release Lattunen participated in various music projects - for solo artists, theatres, etc. These two songs have appeared as bonuses on the CD release of Geafar, and I'm sure most prog listeners will see them more as curiosities and items of completionism than as a source of deep artistic enjoyment. There even was inconsistence about the track title on the original single: "Poika Pilvellä" ("A boy on a cloud") and "Pilven poika" ("The boy of the cloud"). The latter seems to be the official one.

Probably it was an attempt to play more popular and catchier music at the time when prog was rapidly and completely out of fashion in Finland. This is pretty funky stuff. Technically 'Pilven poika' is a relatively well-creafted, lighthearted track with a colourful arrangement, but the composition per se is rather poor and monotonous, and Vesa Lattunen was never a good vocalist. The song sounds terribly outdated today.

'Jumbo' is a tight and groovy instrumental and works much better. It's not the most original slice of funk music but nothing in it feels disjointed as on 'Pilven poika'. Anyway, on a prog site it would be a bit inappropriate to rate this single higher than two stars.

 In The Wake Of Poseidon by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.81 | 1597 ratings

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In The Wake Of Poseidon
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars In reviews, "In The Wake of Poseidon" is often overshadowed by its predecessor, "In The Court of The Crimson King" and is subject to stinging criticism. The terms "carbon copy" and "plagiarize", among others, are thrown around unrelentingly and many are quick to judge it. After all, how could King Crimson possibly create an album MORE experimental, MORE provocative, MORE innovative than their pinnacle of a debut?

"In The Wake of Poseidon" reminds me in a way of Greek intellectual Eratosthenes. A brilliant man of his time, he was the first to accurately calculate the Earth's circumference and pioneered adding parallels and meridians to the world map, among other geographical and mathematical innovations. However, Eratosthenes has failed to remain encapsulated in the minds of the modern public because, while he was accomplished at the highest levels of virtually all fields, he only ever became the second most successful at anything he did. "In The Wake of Poseidon" is like that in the sense that its formulaic approach and second-place standing relative to "In The Court of The Crimson King" has made many listeners unable to appreciate its mastery.

Of course, to call "Wake of Poseidon" a copy of "Crimson King" is a stretch; many of the tracks on the two albums had been written around the same time and songs from "Poseidon" had already been incorporated into the band's live repertoire by late 1969. In all reality, the two albums probably could have been released together in 1970 as a double album and no one would have batted an eye, they just would have been mind-blown by the 85 minutes of pure, unrelenting fusion-tinged prog.

Even where similarities lie, they are quite limited. The first side of the album (save for "Peace - A Beginning") is quite similar to side 1 of "Crimson King", with "Pictures of A City", "Cadence And Cascade" and "In the Wake of Poseidon" drawing many parallels to "21st Century Schizoid Man", "I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph", respectively. Rather than copy their predecessors, however, these tracks actually improve upon them and perfect them, the chaotic moments more brutal and discordant, the gentle moments softer and sweeter. I've also found myself better able to empathize with the sentiments conveyed by the songs on side 1 of "Poseidon" than "Crimson King" and "Cadence And Cascade" takes me into an unmatched realm of nostalgia.

Side 2 is a whole other beast all together. The formulaic approach often criticized has been thrown out the window by this point. "Cat Food" is new territory for Crimson and "Devil's Triangle" offers interesting new arrangements on Holst. The two remaining "Peace" tracks, along with their side 1 counterpart, also offer a little something that "Crimson King" lacked (i.e. brevity). So to all who overlook "In The Wake of Poseidon", take another listen and think again on your judgements. Anyway, if Robert Fripp released 37 more Crimson Kings and Poseidon's Wakes, you can be sure that any prog lover would promptly march out to the record store and buy 38. Give Eratosthenes a chance!

 Voyage Of The Acolyte by HACKETT, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.22 | 1017 ratings

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Voyage Of The Acolyte
Steve Hackett Eclectic Prog

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Steve Hackett's first solo album 'Voyage Of The Acolyte' pulls you right in from first few notes of the awesome opener 'Ace Of Wands', and it grips your attention throughout the entire length of the album. What we have here in this record is one of the greatest progressive rock guitarist being 'let off the hook' to explore progressive music in his own terms. And the music on offer here is really quite diverse. You can hear all of the different strands of creativity that Steve Hackett had accumulated over the years that he was never able to record with Genesis. In 'Acolyte' Steve gets the chance to do things his way, and its absolutely fascinating and essential listening.

In order to understand this solo work from Steve Hackett it is worth-while looking back to 1975, the year in which this album was recorded. Genesis had released the controversial double album 'The Lamb Dies Down On Broadway' the year before, an album in which Hackett was relegated to a supporting role in a way that had never happened before in Genesis. In fact all of the band took a back seat to Peter Gabriel throughout the 'The Lamb', which was dominated by vocals, rather than musical passages as with the previous Genesis works.

Steve Hackett even talks about this difficult period in the liner notes. By working on a solo album he was able to explore his own creativity without needing approval from the rest of Genesis. In his own words; "It seemed like I'd finally got to become the Captain of my own ship... For me there was no turning back after Voyage of the Acolyte."

So, back to the album at hand, what we get here is hard driven prog-rock, sensitive moody and emotive compositions, and a closer which might just be the best thing Steve Hackett has ever committed to tape. In fact I'd say 'Shadow Of The Hierophant' might be one of the best progressive rock tracks ever, it has it all, power, soul, great female vocals and one of the most intoxicating and haunting endings to any prog-rock song. Guess musicians include, amongst others, Genesis alumni Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford. This is a very solid 4-star album, highly recommended to all fans of progressive music and great guitar playing!

 City Of The Sun by SEVEN IMPALE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.13 | 166 ratings

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City Of The Sun
Seven Impale Eclectic Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars The best album that came out in prog in 2014. Period. There's too much to like here: the swift changes of rythm, the urgency of the vocals, the sultry sax, the manic moods in the drums.

This is so intoxicating It is like having blended VDGG and King Crimson into one.

I really hope this guys keep together enough to produce another couple of CD's more because running to this in the morning makes my heart flutter with delight. Pretty much recommended to anyone who is a serious in prog as I am (don't worry, if you are reading this, of course you are).

 Skymind by TAAL album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.08 | 115 ratings

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Skymind
Taal Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Skymind' - Taal (81/100)

I was recently introduced to the world of Taal through their debut album Mister Green, a melange of classic progressive styles the French act quietly delivered to the world back in 2000, without much in the way of fanfare to herald its release. Lamentably, there's every reason to believe Taal have gone their separate ways in the time since, Mister Green nonetheless struck me as the work of a band with great potential. Most of the prog rock subsets you can think of (including metal) were represented at some point on the album, with each song a new opportunity to divulge another influence. Though they ultimately struck me as window-shopping proggers in a search of style they might call home, Taal's passion for progressive music was clearly apparent in how well they could immerse themselves with each style, be it space or jazz rock, classical or folk, heady composition or avant-garde quirk. Theirs was an ambitious first undertaking, and there's merit is calling it an overlooked gem. Even so, Taal's all-encompassing approach suffered the lack of a distinctive, identifying character; this kept their music sounding like a series of song-length excursions into other bands' sounds, rather than a testament they might truly call their own.

With that preface, their second album Skymind startles me. Not only did they find themselves a distinctive sound in the three years between this and Mister Green; they managed to do so by broadening their dense ambitions to an extent unrivalled by the debut. Those, of course, being the same ambitions I thought had originally held Taal back from finding themselves in the first place. Strange things were clearly transpiring for Taal in the first years of the millennium. Skymind almost sounds like the work of a different band altogether. That's not entirely inaccurate, either. Taal effectively doubled their ranks, bringing in another drummer and permanent string section. This completely changed the game for them, and it shows in the music. If Mister Green was the work of a skilful prog rock band, Skymind is the product of a tightly-knit chamber rock ensemble, now with the scope and confidence to wield their eclecticism, but with no loss to the humour and energy of their earlier work.

I was actually talking briefly about this album with a friend last night. He described Skymind (I'm paraphrasing here) as 'classical music played by rock musicians'. It was funny, because a lot of the time I've spent listening to the album, I've had the opposite impression in mind. Regardless, this might go to show that the Taal circa Skymind is and should be judged by a different criteria as its earlier incarnation, which sounded like a prog rock band sounding like other prog rock bands. In my experience with the more eclectic side of prog, I've found it can take a long time before one can safely judge how good the music really is. I'm sure the same could be argued for all music in general, but it's especially true when bands are pushing ideas into their music like there was an 'Everything Must Go' closing sale at the Wholesale House of Riffs. Mister Green took me three or four spins before I could say I'd firmly grasped it. With Skymind, I'm seven listens in (and counting!) and I'm still hearing new things about it. It's not that Skymind is necessarily more jampacked than its predecessor; in fact, it feels as if Mister Green had quite a bit more content to wade through. The biggest change is the way Taal handled their ideas on Skymind, how they've strung them together. It doesn't feel like a rogue's gallery of prog rock styles most of us are already probably well-versed in. Their reach is as varied here as it ever was-- drawing in all between avant-metal and gypsy jazz-- but with Skymind, they became master of these influences, rather than the other way around. These compositions, however diverse they may seem at times, sound like they were written with fealty only to a style Taal were carving out for themselves. I was impressed by the skill with which they tackled each style on the debut, but it's another thing to be hearing them bring those ingredients alongside their own voice.

The biggest change, I think, that's empowered them to take charge has been the string section. Two violins, a viola, and a cello fill out Taal's newfound 'other half'. It's not unheard of that progressive rock band incorporates symphonic influences, but very rarely does a band integrate it to the point that I can't imagine hearing Skymind without the violins. They are a constant presence on the album, swirling about in a way that often compliments, and occasionally even competes with the guitars for my attention. The consonant arrangement for the string section remains the same regardless of the genre Taal are touching upon at the given time. Because the strings are so consistent in their colour throughout each eclectic shift, Skymind sounds coherent and whole.

While I don't think Taal managed to make vocals work in their style (Loic Bernardeau's tongue-in- cheek delivery sounds like a joke the listeners weren't let in on), Helene Sonnet's voice on "Blind Child" works well for the intended chanson-type tone they were going for. While vocals seem to pop up a surprising amount on Skymind, I still think of Taal as an instrumental prog band. Here moreso even than on Mister Green in fact, they carry so many of the qualities I'd attribute to instrumental progressive rock: dense, meticulously composed, and with the tendency of losing track of melody. It took a fair while longer for Skymind to grow on me relative to the debut, but in the end, Taal's second album stands a full head beyond the debut. Skymind does for me what many of these 'composer-rockers' fail to. Where the common tendency is to get mired in cerebral noodling, there is an emotionally palpable beauty to the music that sets Taal apart. Now that I've heard their magnum opus, I'm wondering what the hell ever happened to them. Though they weren't alone in their chamber rock niche, I've seldom heard a band of that style that brought a goodhearted humour to what they did. I imagine it's probably fruitless to wish it, but I hope one of the band members conjures some manner of necromancy, and brings Taal back for another record. Skymind is a damned fine contribution to modern progressive rock, and it's a shame they've never taken their sound further than this.

 Inside Van Der Graaf Generator by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover DVD/Video, 2005
3.13 | 24 ratings

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Inside Van Der Graaf Generator
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The inside series of DVDs are an interesting snapshot of prog history for the progressive rock fan. It is worth noting that there are a series of "Inside" DVDs available, including Pink Floyd, Yes, Supertramp, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and of course "Inside Van der Graaf Generator". Each DVD is in Dolby digital 5.1 and DTS so the sound is incomparable.

The Inside series is an independent critical review featuring rare archive footage much of which has been previously unavailable on DVD. VDGG clips from their golden years are always a sheer delight and there's a lot to indulge in from their early albums including "Pawn Hearts" gem A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers. I've seen many performances of this but here is a treat from the best version recorded. These performances have seen the light of day previously but I can never get enough of Hammill's voice and Jacksons' Saxophones.

Musicologists of varying backgrounds critically assess the music to discover the essence of the band. It is a very brief look at the band as are all of these DVDs of the "Inside" series, clocking just over one hour in length. Therefore it is more of a taster for those new to VDGG or for those who just want to look back at the golden years of this powerhouse prog rock band.

 Real Time by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Live, 2007
4.09 | 145 ratings

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Real Time
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Hamill, Evans, Jackson and Banton make a formidable lineup in this lengthy concert document on the awesome Van der Graaf Generator. The live stage was custom made for such inventive genius and this Cd captures every dark moment of this performance. So many treasures are here; Killer, Scorched Earth, Lemmings, Nutter Alert, Man Erg and Darkness epitomise all that is great about VDGG. Hamill's voice suffers here though, having been scorched by the surgeons knife recently so the songs suffer. The music is wonderful as one might expect but the vocals simply infest each song. I was very disappointed that the band would release such a tarnished product. Live, the band would have sounded great I am certain and the crowd love each moment, however under the close scrutiny of a Cd earphone session it doesn't cut it. you would be far better off getting the incredible live Cd "Vital".
 Mister Green by TAAL album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 74 ratings

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Mister Green
Taal Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Mister Green' - Taal (71/100)

Some bands have trouble finding a style on their debut. On Mister Green, Taal plunged into several. Taal is what happens when a rag-tag group of prog rock lovers meets an avant-garde flair for the eclectic. Although their second, final album Skymind dawned to the world way back in 2003, I would associate them with the modern trend in so-called 'traditional prog'; that is, the sense that no possible outcome was left unturned. Proggers tend to be eclectic listeners by nature, and many of the bands that have carried the torch of the 70s' reflect that in their work. On this (mostly instrumental) album, Taal explore most of the great schools of progressive rock. This is including, but not limited to: Genesis-type symphonic prog, Pink Floydian chillouts, jazz-rock, avant-prog, and even progressive metal of the Dream Theater variety.

For starters, I don't think Taal quite managed to seamlessly fuse these styles together. Mister Green gives the impression of musical window shopping; Taal take their listener on a survey through so many of these styles, but don't seem to come out of it with a sound of their own. There's not much about the bombastic hard rock of "Flat Spectre", for example, to tie it to the jazz-metal of "Ragtime", much less the King Crimsony explorations on "Super Flat Moon". Although the diversity isn't so far-fetched as to make these songs incompatible with each other, I can listen to the entire album without knowing feeling a characteristic style about them.

Taal bit off more than they could chew with a debut, but in the end, I'm not complaining. Whether it's metal or ragtime, the styles they incorporate on Mister Green are all handled with the expertise I'd associate with a band that had specialized in them. "Barbituricus" is a progressive epic in the image of the 70's greats, and "Coornibus" follows it up with a beautifully pastoral nostalgia. Taal have dipped their wicks in a number of the old greats' styles, and I don't think they follow any band better than King Crimson. The more sprawling parts of "Super Flat Moon" remind me of the infamous instrumental noodlings on "Moonchild", albeit with a far greater impression of momentum. While Taal spend the majority of the time exploring traditional progressive sounds, I think they sound most at home on the avant-garde end. "No Way!", "Mister Green" and "Mister Grey" form the album's single centrepiece, a weirdly theatrical jaunt with vocals that sound a greater part tongue-in-cheek than sincere. Nonetheless, getting avant-garde and sporadic with their sound affords Taal the opportunity to fit all of their ideas on the album. Saturating their composition with ideas is something they try to do regardless of style. Understandably, this has the effect of making the 68 minute runtime feel even longer than it should.

Although I've had no preconceptions of Taal's music going into them, it's still hard for me to believe this was the band's debut. Mister Green may not sound like the work of a band who know what they want to do, but each of their little stylistic expeditions enjoys the aura of expertise I'd associate with well-seasoned veterans. Mister Green is too self-indulgent for its own good, and it's questionable that the band did anything entirely fresh with any of their styles. Regardless, each of their sounds are a result of clear love on the band's part, and likeminded proggers should love most, if not all of the colours Mister Green has to offer. For my part, I'm impressed by Taal's exploration of prog conventions, and I'm looking forward to see how they developed with their second, final album Skymind.

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