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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 60's, a Folk revival started on both sides of the Atlantic, and got quickly linked with a protest movement, not always, but often linked to more left-wing tendencies, which did not sit well with the authorities. BOB DYLAN, JOAN BAEZ, WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHN DENVER, BUFFY STE-MARIE, but also the FARINA couple Richard and Mimi for the US and SHIRLEY COLLINS and EWAN McCOLL (mentor of BERT JANSCH, JOHN RENBOURN ) for the UK and HUGUES AUFRAY in France. In Quebec, there was the "Chansoniers" phenomenon among which CLAUDE LEVEILLE and FELIX LECLERC were the most popular, waking up the sleepy "Belle Province" and stand up for itself from the English rule. The English part of Canada also brought up JONI MITCHELL, LEONARD COHEN (although he was from Montreal) and NEIL YOUNG.

As DYLAN turned electric with his Highway 61 Revisited album, much to the dislike of purists who yelled for treason, Folk Rock was born, opening the floodgates for younger artists to turn on the electricity. As DYLAN soon abandoned to style to create Country Rock with his next album, his British equivalent Scotsman DONOVAN stayed true to Folk Rock. In the US, THE BYRDS were the main promoters of the style by now, culminating with the superb "Eight Miles High" track with a lengthy (for the times) guitar solo of almost one minute. But countless other bands on the west coast, such as LOVE, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (and later its spin-off HOT TUNA), GRATEFUL DEAD, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and TIM BUCKLEY all started in the folk rock realm. Even San Fran's SANTANA with its Latino traditional music and, on the east coast, NY's THE LOVING SPOONFUL had folk roots. Notwithstanding the immense popularity of SIMON & GARFUNKEL and their delicious harmonies, Folk Rock was appealing only to the rock public as the older generations turned their backs in folkies.

In the UK, following on their countrymen DONOVAN, many Scotsmen were very influent in exploring new grounds for folk rock: INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (led by Scots Palmer and Williamson) with their two highly influential albums "5000 Layers Or The Spirit Of The Onion" & "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" and THE PENTANGLE (led by other Scots Renbourn, Jansch and McShee and their superb bassist Danny Thompson) and its incredible fusion of folk, blues and jazz style were very instrumental in developing the style to the same extent as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and THE STRAWBS who by that time were still more conventional US "west-coast folk rock". The single artistes in folk rock became known as Folk Troubadours were also numerous and often presented a more progressive side of folk: AL STEWART, NICK DRAKE, ROY HARPER, TYRANOSAURUS REX (actually a duo of Steven Took and Marc Bolan) , JOHN MARTYN etc.

However, the real angular album that will lead to further change of Folk Rock is FAIRPORT CONVENTION's "Liege & Lief" album, that proved to be highly influential for another generation of groups: this album concentrated into electrifying seminal English traditional folk and retained that quaint Englishness taste. It is interesting to see that both leaders of FAIRPORT quit the band after this success to go their respective way: Sandy Denny to a solo folk songwriting career and Ashley Hutchings to a very traditional folk rock. By this time, most connoisseur were talking of Acid Folk, Psych Folk, and Progressive Folk, all having limited differences and no particularly drawn-out limits or boundaries, but all relying on experimental or groundbreaking adventures and good musicianship but not necessarily of an acoustic nature.

Groups like THE THIRD EAR BAND and QUINTESSENCE relied on eastern Indian music influences and, sometimes, medieval tones. Other groups like the weird COMUS, THE TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY (all listed in the ProgArchives) but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, TIR NA NOG (all of whom could also be in the ProgArchives) were out to break new ground but with less commercial success as their predecessor. By 1972, all of the glorious precursors bands were selling fewer records and had problems renewing themselves and a newer generation of groups was relying in a more Celtic jigs or really traditional sounds. Such as HORSLIPS, DANDO SHAFT, STEELEYE SPAN, AMAZING BLONDEL, ALBION DANCE BAND and SPRIGUNS OF TOLGUS. Although JETHRO TULL had some definitive folk roots right from the start, their only albums that can be regarded as Prog Folk are 77's Songs From The Woods and 78's Heavy Horses. Ian Anderson (another Scots) was very keen in acoustical traditional songs. Some Folk Troubadours such as TIM BUCKLEY and JOHN MARTYN started turning records more and more axed towards fusing jazz and folk (a bit in what THE PENTANGLE were doing) , others became more and more electric and they started to be referred to as Singer Songwriters especially those with country rock influences.

In Germany, HOELDERLIN (and their fantastic debut album), EMTIDI, OUGENWEIDE, CAROL OF HARVEST, WITTHEUSER & WESTRUPP were exploring German folk while KALACAKRA , SILOAH and EMBRYO were indulging with Indian music. In South America, most notably in Chile, LOS JAIVAS (very bent upon Andean Indian music) and EL CONGRESSO (more Spanish-Latino folklore) were using folk in their rock, so much that some press talked about them referring it with the hateful term Inca Rock. In Quebec, the progressive movement exploded with the cultural identity and the Chansoniers tradition and this was carried out with LES SEGUIN and HARMONIUM and so many more. In France, many groups were out for folk rock such as RIBEIRO ALPS, TANGERINE, and ASGARD. In Spain, Flamenco playing a dominant role as well as Basque folk, TRIANA, ITOIZ and HAIZEA were the head of the movement once the Franco regime fell apart after his death.


There is also a very important medieval music influences dimension in some groups as the term Medieval Folk was also mentioned for a while but apparently dropped by musicologists. Among the UK groups are obviously GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT and THIRD EAR BAND, in France: MALICORNE and RIPAILLE and in Scandinavia: ALGARNAS TRADGARD and FOLQUE.


Hugues Chantraine

Current Team as at 09/06/2012

ClemOfNazareth
Kenneth Levine
Sean Trane

Prog Folk Top Albums


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

4.64 | 2247 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.32 | 1711 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.22 | 219 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.16 | 937 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.13 | 424 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.15 | 222 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.12 | 386 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.25 | 87 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.18 | 127 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.13 | 211 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.39 | 44 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.13 | 156 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.10 | 227 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.03 | 820 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.00 | 973 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.11 | 102 ratings
HÖLDERLINS TRAUM
Hoelderlin
3.99 | 765 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.12 | 86 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
3.98 | 776 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.28 | 36 ratings
THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Midlake

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell of Incense
FRESH MAGGOTS
Fresh Maggots
GUSLIAR
Pesniary (Pesnyary)
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Sad Minstrel

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Alturas de Macchu Picchu by JAIVAS, LOS album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.22 | 219 ratings

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Alturas de Macchu Picchu
Los Jaivas Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars Although LOS JAIVAS (a misspelling of "jaibas" which is Spanish for "crabs") formed all the way back in 1963 in central Chile they are best known for their 7th and most popular album ALTURAS OF MACCHU PICCHU (The Heights Of Macchu Picchu) which came out in 1981. While most South American bands who ventured into the progressive rock world eschewed the homegrown folklore styles of their respective nations, LOS JAIVAS took the exact opposite approach and fully integrated the homegrown traditional beats and rhythms of their native Chile while incorporating the symphonic bombast of progressive rock. The result is a strange hybrid that seems like a logical experiment that should have been attempted by countless bands, yet as far as I know most bands emulated their European idols and only LOS JAIVAS found success down this road. Although the band began in Chile they were uprooted during the tumultuous 70s in a volatile Chile and relocated in France for several years. It was during those years when they released some of their most celebrated albums such as ALTURAS. The music is more of a trade-off of styles for the most part rather than a complete fusion but there is plenty of fusion parts to be found.

Unless you are a speaker of the Spanish language you will not realize that ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU is in fact a poem by Pablo Neruda which appeared in his book "Canto General (General Song)" from the year 1950. The Canto is actually a book of 15 poems in which "The Heights Of Macchu Picchu" is the second. The poem is a tale of the creation of humanity and how it can be witnessed in the ruins of Macchu Picchu and a celebration of the history of the indigenous inhabitants of the Andes Mountains. The poem has actually found its way into other musical formats including by the Chilean folk band Aparcoa and by the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. LOS JAIVAS are famous for not only marrying the traditional Chilean folklore music with progressive rock but also for reciting the poem in near entirety in musical form. This is also perhaps one of the rare cases where progressive music can be danceable. The blending of the 4/4 steady beats of the folk music with the more symphonic bombast of the prog is done quite seamlessly. They make it sound easy but in fact it is quite a feat to accomplish. A unique album for a captivating blend of worldly musical styles.

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 112 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by Tristan Zaba

4 stars An absolutely fantastic album. While I also quite liked TAAB2, this is better.

Ian seems to keep telling people that it's some sort of metal album. I'm not sure why he thinks that, but metal this is not. Stylistically it strays pretty close to a slightly harder rocking Heavy Horses. In saying this, I mean it takes into consideration all those lovely textures and clean arrangements. This album also gets quite inventive, with some interesting rhythms, meter changes, and progressions. In the accompanying deluxe edition documentary, he even mentions Captain Beefheart as providing some inspiration.

I think Ian's voice is sounding better than on TAAB2. It doesn't have that punch it used to have, but it still all sounds quite nice and he interprets the lyrics nicely. His flute-playing seems to get better with every album, which it should. After all, every album contributes to his playing experience. The band plays through the music very proficiently. If anything, they sound a bit too polished for some bits. It might just be due to the fact that most of them are pretty clean-cut jazz and classical musicians. However, they still add a lot of character to the parts and interpret them very nicely.

The concept includes Bostock again, so you know it'll be weird. It chronicles humanity's rise and fall as the dominant species on earth, as told by some guy locked in a sanatorium after an unfortunate run-in with malaria. However, it is quite poignant and sometimes rather unsettling. Pop culture references from all periods are everywhere. You actually really have to pay attention to catch all of them. They work well and are obviously very well thought- out.

Stylistically varied, musically solid, and lyrically curious, Homo Erraticus is a wonder of a solo album from Ian Anderson, and possibly his best outside of Jethro Tull. The one real negative is that having heard so much of his other work, there are moments where it seems a little too formulaic. However, it is still an incredibly enjoyable effort and something I am sure I will find myself listening to on and off for years to come.

 Piirpauke Live by PIIRPAUKE album cover Live, 1978
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Piirpauke Live
Piirpauke Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars The most mature and beautiful effort of Piirpauke was about to come.But this wouldn't meant to include Antti Hytti as a member, as by 1978 he had left the band with Olli-Pekka Wasama handling now the bass and Jukka Wasama jumping over for percussion duties.The fresh Piirpauke quartet would display its abilities on a 78' live album, simply entitled ''Live''.As with the second album this would be released in Finland and Sweden on Love Records.

Piirpauke worked well within the adaptions of traditional songs and their transformation into Folk/Fusion pieces and this was another case of their inventive spirit.The Moldavian-oriented ''Moldavialainen laulu'' with its lovely, delicate, mournful flute lines sets the tone for an impressive orgasm between Ethnic and Jazz Music, kicking off actually with the fantastic ''Makedonialainen laulu'', a 13-min. journey through the Balkans with marvelous sax and guitar solos and a psychedelic rhythm section in a style very reminiscent of KRAAN, which develops eventually into a chaotic mix of piano, electric guitar and sax jams.Stunning.''Rypistys'' is propably a Nordic-influenced piece, the more jazziest part of the album, with contrabass and piano in the forefront, offered in a rather improvised mood.'' Tizeta'' is a track based on Ethopian traditional music, another monumental performance by the band, swirling around the happy, smooth guitar acoustics and the African soundscapes created by Sakari Kukko and his flute, while yet another highlight is delivered through Walli's impressive guitar soloing.The Greek-based ''Fyssouni'' was already presented by the band in the previous album, but its live execution is simply outstanding with a superb performance on clarinet by Kukko, supported by an evergrowing trio of bass/guitar/drums, outstanding instrumental magic to say the least.''Syssymmalla'' is closer to the more classic lines of Scandinavian Psych/Prog with great piano and guitar work in a jazzy enviroment, offering nice rhythmic lines and sharp solo parts.

A complete, almost classic work of Folk-Fusion.Traditional tunes mixed with electric, instrumental madness, creating a charming amalgam of sights and sounds.Highly recommended.

 U by INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.65 | 13 ratings

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U
The Incredible String Band Prog Folk

Review by waluigithewalrus

3 stars This is a decent effort from The Incredible String Band, but not something that is necessary for a collection. The album certainly has it's moments; for instance, the opening instrumental track 'El Wood Suite', though repetitive, features a fantastic combo of sitar and flute, with each getting their own melody before coming together in the last section. The 'Partial Belated Overture' is also quite a fun song, featuring two electric guitars going simultaneously in the first part, before switching over to a more upbeat second part featuring the violin prominently. Also among the bright points is 'Invocation', a song that deeply displays the band's Celtic influence with a song that is pretty much an Invocation to the Pagan Gods.

Despite this, there is still something wanting with this album. Many songs are unexciting and far from progressive. 'Bad Sadie Lee' is basically a sing-a-long song about a sort of female version of Billy the Kid. The 10 minute 'Light In Time Of Darkness/Glad To See You' is almost entirely a vocals and piano piece that plods along with no dynamic, tempo, or meter change until it reaches the 'Glad To See You' part of the song, which only last for about two minutes. The track immediately following it 'Walking Along With You' seems to take forever, as there seems to be little emotion in the piece. Perhaps strangest of all is 'Robot Blues' which is exactly what it sounds like; a piano blues piece written about whatever robots get sad about.

Overall, the album has a few worthwhile elements, but is not something that's worth listening to all that often due to only having some progressive elements to it.

 Ametsaren Bidea  by ERROBI album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.72 | 13 ratings

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Ametsaren Bidea
Errobi Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars My first try at Basque prog rock, and I'm glad I chose this album because it's a great one. I have no idea what these guys are singing about as the Basque language has no relation at all to Spanish or any Indo-European language (in fact language scholars have a difficult time tracing its origins), but I understand they were a politically-oriented band, which should surprise me not at all given the Basque separatist movements that occurred during and after the Franco regime. Errobi got its name for the river that runs through the area, known to us non-Basque speakers as the Nive River. I understand the Basque scene tended more towards folk and folk rock, so I don't expect to find a whole lot of Basque bands in the Yes or Genesis vein. But Ametsaren Bidea, released in 1979 on the Xoxoa label (a small Basque label based in Bilbao) ends up being their most progressive release. Hard to imagine a band's most progressive recording being released in 1979 when their debut appeared around 1975, but that's what happens here. The folk elements are still there, but in an eclectic prog context (with some jazz rock/fusion elements), so it's safe to say eclectic prog fans should like this as much as prog folk fans. "Alboka" is the opening cut, and in fact named after the musical instrument that dominates this piece. The alboka is a single reed instrument with animal horns for the mouthpiece and bell, and two rows of holes, able to play two notes at once. The Welsh pibgorn is similar, except it only has one row of holes and is monophonic. This piece gives a nice lively festive feel, I like how the alboka sounds a bit out of tune compared to the rock instruments being used on this piece. The 17 minute title track starts off rather slow, with a 1980s vibe going on, but I like how the music picks up steam, including fusion elements, and I also like the use of whistle in a couple passages (this whistle is probably Basque in origin and not the common Irish tin whistles. Except for the marimba-like txalaparta, as heard on Area's Maledetti, I'm not to familiar with musical instruments native to the Basque region). "Andere" is a rather intense piece, there's a bit of that medieval vibe going on, with more jazzy passages. It's only appropriate that the final piece, "Oraino" should be a rather relaxed piece. I realize there several other Basque groups around this time period worth investigating. I am a lucky owner of the original LP on Xoxoa, Han Pokora give a four out of six disc rarity rating in his 3001 Record Collector Dreams book, meaning it's incredibly hard to find as an original. It also included an insert with Spanish and French translations of the songs (realizing that not every Basque on the Spanish or French side spoke Basque, especially during the Franco years in Spain). Although this is from 1979, the music has a 1980s feel and production, despite the lack of synths, particularly during the more mellow moments, it has that crystal clear sound you expect from digital recordings (although this was an analog recording as only about three or four digital recordings came out in 1979, from Ry Cooder, Stevie Wonder and True Myth). Luckily it's not like neo-prog or proto-neo-prog. I'm glad to have this album and if you're looking for something off the beaten track, fancy prog sung in a very obscure language very few know about, it's worth trying.
 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.69 | 67 ratings

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Gudrun
Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars PIERROT LUNAIRE started out as a more normal Italian folk band when it released its first eponymous album in 1974 but after a few years when the more adventurous side of progressive music was waning rather than waxing the band took the absolute opposite approach and created a more experimental, avant-garde and progressive approach with their 2nd album GUDRUN. Despite the folk aspect being weirded out to the nth degree it is still to be found alternating with strange electronic embellishments, diva soprano vocals and a healthy dose of the avant-garde without overdosing on any particular element. In fact, the whole thing comes together quite well despite there being seemingly totally disparate sounds fighting for dominance at any given moment. Once usurpation of a particular sound or style has settled in, thankfully is allowed to run its course before the next one intervenes the possible boredom that could occur if allowed to ramble beyond its approved time slot.

The band took their name from the famous classical composition by Arnold Schoenberg, who is known for his avant-garde approach to classical music incorporating atonality and developed the twelve-tone technique. Likewise with the band's namesake, they utilize the avant-garde to really spice up their folk influences to the point it doesn't often sound like folk anymore. This is one of those albums where you can put aside any expectations of what you think will happen and just surrender to the music and let PIERROT LUNAIRE do the driving. You do have to put on your seat belts because they do come awfully close to driving off the cliffs yet always at the nick of time are saved by a mysterious chimera pushing the brake pedal. I am very intrigued by this album to say the least. It nourishes my inner freak-a-zoid like very few albums can. The fact is that there is really nothing else that i've personally heard that sounds anything even close to this one. The weirdness and the accessible play together like a tiger and a lamb giving the impression of eminent mortality but always emerging unexpectedly in a truce between the polar opposites. A must-hear for all you demented sonic sluts who just can't satiate your appetite for the weirdest and wildest that experimental music has to offer.

 Red Queen To Gryphon Three & Raindance by GRYPHON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
4.18 | 22 ratings

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Red Queen To Gryphon Three & Raindance
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars This combo-release of 1997 by Castle Communications was my first (double!) experience with Gryphon. Having two-in-one CDs comes pretty handy but also, in this case, enhances the interest of the listening experience.

The main reason for this is the variation you get between the two CDs as RQTGT flows into Raindance. There is a transition from the long, peculiar, long compositions of the former to the more direct folk/rock character of the latter. In fact, Raindance in someways concludes with the way that RQTGT starts: with a long, intricate, symphonic-influenced composition.

The 'Opening Move' remided me of The Enid and ''In the Region Of The Summer Stars'' with the use of multiple instruments in an intriguing sequence from more melodic folk passages to grandios, barocque style. Apparently, this describes the atmopshere in the first move of the chess game... Throughout the rest of the three compositions, the mood constantly shifts, with 'Second Spasm' starting off as more light-hearted (imagine King Arthur arriving on his horse) but quickly evolving on a memorable dynamic bass line. The music that follows could remind you of Warner Bros' comics (no offence or pun intended!) with the wind instruments dominating, before returning to the trademark folk main theme. 'Lament' is much more subtle, dark and slower, but mid-way through explodes to yet another symphonic-folk adventurous rhythm that brings me back to The Enid... 'Checkmate' concludes the chess moves in an eclectic prog fashion and recurring wind instrument themes.

Raindance starts off in a more direct rock, on the one hand, and relaxed-folk atmosphere on the other with lyrics being first introduced in the mellow 'Mother Nature's Son'. The influence of French music appears in the next number, before 'Fontinental Version' which kicks off the more heavy rock elements in the album, amidst the melodic interludes. 'Wallbanger' presents a mix of flute and rock 'n' roll and 'Don't Say Go' reminds strongly of the canterbury tales of Caravan. The 16 min '(Ein Klein) Heldenleben' is certainly the highlight and potentially the only one resembling profoundly RQTGT, with symphonic/pompous arrangements but with a slightly lighter approach in the vein of Alan Parsons. Midway through it displays a folksier (see very British!) character with fast flute playing and then returns to the main theme of the composition before concluding in grandiose arrangements.

Great addition to your prog collection, even if Raindance does not match RQTGT, this combo-CD shows great variety in moods and includes memorable compositions. + to the price and - to the CD inlays but these are minor details.

 Legend by PARZIVAL album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.65 | 29 ratings

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Legend
Parzival Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Parzival's roots can be found in the Bremen-based 60's group The Chamberlains, where singer/guitarist Lothar Siems and drummer Thomas Olivier played together.By 1967 they had teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Walter Quintus and formed a trio that went to an extended tour through France.After graduating in 1969 from the Beazzic Conservatory, they surfaced under the Parzival name and even went on to the Decca Studios in London to record a single.The trio was later picked up by renowed producer Conny Plank and recorded the debut ''Legend'' at the fall of summer 71' at the Star Music Studios in Hamburg.A few guests took part during the sessions, namely Joachim Reichhold on cello, Matthias Mueller-Menckens on piano/flute and Hans Jaspers on viola, while the album was released on Telefunken.

First side comes as a hybrid of Folk, Classical Music and Psychedelic Pop with notable influences from Medieval Music and a good bunch of psychedelic orientations.Entirely sung in English, these five tracks range from symphonic textures to sweet interplays between traditional instruments and some serious psychedelic solos on guitar and flute with Mueller-Menckens becoming an unexpected centerpoint with his impressive and flexible flute work, ranging from charming and melodic lines to killer solos.With a steady rhythm section and a good string section the music ranges from orchestral soundscapes to bucolic segments, featuring extended instrumental work and plenty of striking moments.Second side sounds like being performed by a whole different band.Gone are the happy melodies and harmonic lines, as ''Empty land'' is much closer to Kraut Folk and the Teutonic principles with depressive strings and hypnotic organs over Siems mournful singing and a grandiose, orchestral outro.''Groove inside'', clocking at 16 minutes, sounds like an overstretched Kraut Folk jam with scratching violins, loose flute and acoustic guitars and some tambourine in the background, being closer to Hippie Folk and creating imaginery, psychedelic atmospheres, pretty weird is that the trio abandoned any possibility for some lyrical content and offered a very long Folk manifest with pronounced traditional sounds.

CD reissue come with a few bonus pieces either coming from the band's singles or from early, unreleased sessions.''Legend'' is a nice little work of Prog Folk/Rock with a different sound in each of the original sides, first one sounds closer to Symphonic Folk, second is outlandish, rather improvised Kraut Folk with intense, psychedelic experiments.Warmly recommended.

 Dressed in Voices by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 57 ratings

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Dressed in Voices
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I have every Mostly Autumn studio recording made, and a fair smattering of live products, as well. It is fair to say, then, that I am a fan. I was tempted firstly by the charms of Heather Findlay, but was not particularly phased by her leaving and being replaced by her old backing singer, Olivia Sparnenn, because I had listened to her doing a sterling job on main man Bryan Josh's solo extravaganza, Through These Eyes. My optimism was rewarded when the band put out two extremely good albums in Go Well Diamond Heart and The Ghost Moon Orchestra.

However, I have never awarded them the five star accolade, and, indeed, have stated on more than one review that this band seemed to be searching for that definitive album, that absolute statement which screamed out buy me, because this is my best.

On Dressed In Voices, they have, finally, achieved it. Quite why this wonderful English ensemble attracts so little attention on this site is beyond me, because the brand of prog folk, heavy prog and rock has been scintillating for some time, now, and, in Josh, our genre has a one of the few guitarists who can be honestly compared with axe gods of days of yore without becoming a little blushed with embarrassment at such a statement.

Dressed In Voices is a genuine concept album, and, it is fair to say, has as its subject matter a fairly dark state of affairs. It is the story of a murder, a gruesome murder, and how that murder encapsulates an entire lifetime of memories, dreams, hopes, and unfulfilled expectations in those seconds between the act itself and the eternal time to pass on. For no better example of what I mean in terms of yearning and damned intelligent lyric writing (set against a very dark undertone generated by the band), then hear Home, the song that Josh was born to write, and is heart rending in its emotion. The guitar solo is fantastic as it soars.

Like all of the finest concept albums, Dressed In Voices deserves to be heard in its entirety, and treated as one organic whole. I have waited for quite some time, and more than a few listens, before setting down my thoughts to this review, just in case the thrill of the first few listens wore out. It didn't. This record gets damn better with each and every single listen. It cries out intelligence.

More than anything else, you know, it is actually an uplifting piece of work. How? You might well ask, given the subject matter. Well, the answer is easy, really. As good as the band are (and Iain Jennings, in particular, has never sounded so good on keys), the core of all in this album is the newlywed Bryan and Olivia. And, you know what? This is an album that has love dripping all over the place, and that is what makes it so special. Listening to the pair of them harmonising on First Day At School, the longest single track here at seven and a half minutes long, is a perfect example of this. On The Last Day, Olivia demonstrates just why she is the finest female vocalist in today's prog scene. It is a delightful, plaintive, soaring performance that simply has to be heard to be believed, and, believe me, has love screaming out, as if it is the last moment she will share with her man, remembering Spirits of Autumn Past, indeed. Old fans will, by the way, adore the nod towards that great old track, with wonderful flute by the recently departed Anne-Marie Helder.

The band have, in the past, tended to veer a bit towards different styles on albums as a whole. So, The Last Bright Light and Passengers were strong prog folk albums, whilst Storms Over Still Waters lent to heavier territory. This album is the perfect fusion of all of the multitude of influences and experiences of its main players, and they move effortlessly between melodic, symphonic, heavy, and Celtic infused music. Skin on Skin is perhaps the most obvious example, with a melodic beginning, with sensitive vocals, morphing into a wonderful wall of sound with some exceptionally complex drumming, especially, by Alex Cromerty, whilst this delightful noise then segues into a quite beautiful female led acoustic piece in The House On The Hill.

Mostly Autumn have ceased to threaten with this album. It gets a very easy five stars. I urge all reading this review to get out and buy the definitive album from a band who really deserve to be packing out stadia (not that they would want to, of course!). The band have provided me with a very difficult choice for album of the year in what is proving to be a very strong and enjoyable 2014, for, believe me, this is every inch as good as Road Of Bones.

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 112 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Bursting out!

Like the previous Thick As A Brick 2 (and unlike most other Ian Anderson solo albums) Homo Erraticus is a Jethro Tull album in all but name. While Thick As A Brick 2 was good and enjoyable, it did not overly impress me. In the light of this, I frankly wasn't expecting very much from this follow up. But I was wrong. Homo Erraticus overshadows its predecessor and indeed all of the other albums released under Ian's own name. This new album is easily the best that Ian has created since the 1990's and I would not hesitate to say that it is up to par with many a Jethro Tull album!

Another surprise is that Homo Erraticus has appeared so soon after Thick As A Brick 2, especially having in mind that the last proper (I'm not counting the Christmas album) Jethro Tull album was released fifteen years ago! I'm very happy to see that Ian Anderson is being prolific once again and that he manages to make albums of such a high quality as Homo Erraticus. There is here clear evidence of a new found inspiration and regained energy that I mistakenly thought he had lost (at least as a song writer and recording artist, he continued to be great live during the last decade). The band that Ian has chosen for himself is very good too and I don't really miss anybody. Working with these people seems to have invigorated him.

I must admit that this album didn't impress me on the first couple of listens, but it quickly grew on me over further listens. It has now had a constant presence in my headphones for some time and I don't seem to tire of it, but instead continue to discover new aspects of it. It certainly reveals itself to be a more complex piece of music than a quick glance at the track list might suggest. It is not really just a collection of 15 shorter songs, but rather a three-part concept album about the history of man! The lyrics are intricate and much more interesting than on Thick As A Brick 2.

Homo Erraticus is simultaneously Ian Anderson's best solo album and an excellent Jethro Tull album. Highly recommended!

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Prog Folk bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
0.720 ALEACION Mexico
3 DAFT MONKEYS United Kingdom
A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
AALTO Finland
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Lebanon
ACCOLADE United Kingdom
ADARO Germany
AFFORESTED United Kingdom
AFION Croatia
AGAPE Canada
AGINCOURT United Kingdom
AIGUES VIVES Germany
AKTUALA Italy
NICU ALIFANTIS Romania
ALMÔNDEGAS Brazil
AMANITA Italy
AMAROK Spain
AMAZING BLONDEL United Kingdom
AMBER United Kingdom
AN DRO Germany
ANACRUSA Argentina
IAN ANDERSON United Kingdom
THE ANGELS OF LIGHT United States
ANNAMY Sweden
APARECIDOS Multi-National
AQUAPLAN Finland
AQUARIUM Russia
DAN AR BRAZ France
MARCO ANTONIO ARAUJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
AUCAN Argentina
AVALANCHE Netherlands
AVE SANGRIA Brazil
AZAHAR Spain
BABADAG Poland
BABY WHALE Multi-National
BAMBIR / THE BAMBIR Armenia
BANDA DO CASACO Portugal
A BARCA DO SOL Brazil
BARR Sweden
TOMAS BATISTA Argentina
BAYON Germany
BEAT CIRCUS United States
BEDEDEUM Italy
BERNARD BENOIT France
BLACKMORE'S NIGHT United Kingdom
BLOPS Chile
BLUEHORSES United Kingdom
BOULE DE SON Canada
BRAN (BRÂN) United Kingdom
BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS United Kingdom
BRECHE Canada
PAUL BRETT United Kingdom
BRÖSELMASCHINE Germany
BUCIUM Romania
TIM BUCKLEY United States
VASHTI BUNYAN United Kingdom
C.O.B. United Kingdom
CAEDMON United Kingdom
CALIBAN United States
CÁLIX Brazil
CAMELIAS GARDEN Italy
CAN AM DES PUIG Multi-National
CANDIDATE United Kingdom
CANO Canada
CANZONIERE DEL LAZIO Italy
MARCELLO CAPRA Italy
CARMEN United Kingdom
CARNASCIALIA Italy
CAROL OF HARVEST Germany
GIAN CASTELLO Italy
PHILIPPE CAUVIN France
CHAC MOOL Mexico
CHALIBAUDE France
CHERCHE-LUNE France
CHIMERA Netherlands
CHRYSALIDE France
CIRCULUS United Kingdom
CLOGS Multi-National
COMUS United Kingdom
CONGREGACION Chile
CONGRESO Chile
CONNIVENCE Canada
CONTRALUZ Argentina
CONVENTUM Canada
CORDE OBLIQUE Italy
DAVE COUSINS United Kingdom
CREMATORIUM Russia
CRYSTAL PHOENIX Italy
CRYSTAL THOUGHTS Greece
CURRENT 93 United Kingdom
DAEMONIA NYMPHE Greece
DANCER United Kingdom
DARNAKES Greece
DAWNWIND United Kingdom
DEAD CAN DANCE Australia
DECAMERON United Kingdom
THE DECEMBERISTS United States
DEMI-HEURE Canada
DETEKTIVBYRĹN Sweden
DIEGO DE MORON Spain
DODSON AND FOGG United Kingdom
DR. STRANGELY STRANGE Ireland
DULCIMER United Kingdom
DUN AENGHUS Multi-National
DUNWICH Italy
JUDY DYBLE United Kingdom
EDEN Germany
ELANE Germany
ELFONIA Mexico
EMERAUDE France
EMTIDI Germany
ENBOR Spain
ENGEL (MIGUEL ANGEL DE LA LLAVE JIMENEZ) Spain
L' ENGOULEVENT Canada
ROBERT ERDESZ Hungary
ERGO SUM Chile
ERROBI Spain
ESPERS United States
ETERNIDAD Argentina
LA FAMIGLIA DEGLI ORTEGA Italy
FARAWAY FOLK United Kingdom
FARPOINT United States
FAUN Germany
FAUN FABLES United States
FAUNS Germany
FAVERAVOLA Italy
FEATHERS United States
FERN KNIGHT United States
FIABA Italy
FIORI-SÉGUIN Canada
FLAIRCK Netherlands
FLIBBERTIGIBBET South Africa
FLOR DE LOTO Peru
I FOLLI DI DIO Italy
FOLQUE Norway
FORENINGEN TIL LIVETS BESKYTTELSE Denmark
FOREST United Kingdom
FORSETI Germany
FRACTAL (CHILE) Chile
FRAGUA Spain
FRED United States
FRESH MAGGOTS United Kingdom
FUCHSIA United Kingdom
FUREKĹBEN Denmark
GAIA CONSORT United States
GALADRIEL Australia
GALAHAD Germany
GALLERY United Kingdom
GARMARNA Sweden
GAROLOU Canada
THE GENTLE SOUL United States
THE GHOST United Kingdom
GJALLARHORN Finland
GLAZ France
GORGO Ukraine
GRAAL France
LARKIN GRIMM United States
GROVJOBB Sweden
GROWING DREAM Canada
GRYPHON United Kingdom
GUALBERTO Spain
GURNEMANZ Germany
GWERZ France
HAIZEA Spain
ROY HARPER United Kingdom
HAWK South Africa
HAZARI Yugoslavia
L' HERBA D'HAMELÍ Spain
HEXVESSEL Finland
HOELDERLIN Germany
HORIZONTE Argentina
HORSLIPS Ireland
IBIO Spain
ILOUS & DECUYPER France
BRIAN IMIG United States
IN THE LABYRINTH Sweden
THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND United Kingdom
INDACO Italy
IONA United Kingdom
IRAKLIS Greece
ITHACA United Kingdom
ITOIZ Spain
ITZIAR Spain
IZUKAITZ Spain
JACK O' THE CLOCK United States
LOS JAIVAS Chile
JAN DUKES DE GREY United Kingdom
BERT JANSCH United Kingdom
JESTER United Kingdom
THE JESTERDAYS Greece
JETHRO TULL United Kingdom
NIGEL MAZLYN JONES United Kingdom
JOX France
JUSTINE Multi-National
KAAMOS Finland
KADWALADYR France
KARNATAKA United Kingdom
CHRIS KARRER Germany
KATALENA Slovenia
KEBNEKAISE Sweden
KERRS PINK Norway
KLADIVO KONJ IN VODA Slovenia
KOLINDA Hungary
ATTILA KOLLAR Hungary
KONTRABURGER Poland
KORMORÁN Hungary
KOSMOS Finland
BRUCE LAMONT United States
JÉROME LANGLOIS Canada
LAURELIE Belgium
LEAFBLADE United Kingdom
PERRY LEOPOLD United States
BENITO LERTXUNDI Spain
LI TROUBAIRES DE COUMBOSCURO Italy
LISA O PIU Sweden
LISKER Spain
LONG LIVE DEATH United States
LOT LORIEN Bulgaria
LOUDEST WHISPER Ireland
CLARE LOUISE France
LUMSK Norway
MADDEN AND HARRIS Australia
MAGDALENA Spain
MAGMA Argentina
MAJA DE RADO & PORODICNA MANUFAKTURA CRNOG HLEBA Yugoslavia
MALICORNE France
BRIAN MALONE United States
MARLBORO MAN Hungary
JUAN MARTIN Spain
JOHN MARTYN United Kingdom
MARY JANE United Kingdom
MASHMAKHAN Canada
LE MATCH Canada
SHELAGH MCDONALD United Kingdom
MELIMELUM Argentina
MELLOW CANDLE Ireland
THE MERLIN BIRD Australia
MESSENGER United Kingdom
MIDLAKE United States
MIDWINTER United Kingdom
MIRANDA SEX GARDEN United Kingdom
DRAGO MLINAREC Yugoslavia
MOĞOLLAR Turkey
COLIN MOLD United Kingdom
MONSEIGNEUR Switzerland
MONTREAL Canada
MORMOS United States
THE MORRIGAN United Kingdom
MOSTLY AUTUMN United Kingdom
MOTIS France
MOURNING PHASE United Kingdom
MOVING HEARTS Ireland
MR. BROWN Sweden
MR. TOAD Israel
MUNDI DOMINI Canada
MUSHROOM Ireland
NANCY ELIZABETH United Kingdom
NIRGAL VALLIS Mexico
THE NOCTURNES United States
MICHEL NORMANDEAU Canada
NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
THE NOVA PROJECT United States
NUEVO MEXICO Mexico
NUIT CALINE A LA VILLA MON REVE Belgium
NYA LJUDBOLAGET Sweden
GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST Australia
O.W.L. United States
OBERON United Kingdom
OCTOBER PROJECT United States
OLOFERNE Italy
OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
ORFANADO Italy
ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
PAN-RA Germany
PARADOX Poland
EMMANUELLE PARRENIN France
PARZIVAL Germany
PASTORAL Argentina
PATANGA Germany
JEAN LUC PAYSSAN France
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE / TOM RAPP United States
THE PENTANGLE United Kingdom
PERERIN United Kingdom
LINDA PERHACS United States
PESNIARY (PESNYARY) Belarus
PHOENIX Romania
PIERROT LUNAIRE Italy
PIIRPAUKE Finland
PLANKTON WAT United States
POSITIVE WAVE Finland
PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE United Kingdom
PROVIDENCE United States
PRUDENCE Norway
PTARMIGAN Canada
THE PUDDLE JUMPERS United States
QUICKSAND United Kingdom
QUINTETO ARMORIAL Brazil
RADA & TERNOVNIK (THE BLACKTHORN) Russia
RAGNARÖK Sweden
RAMASES United Kingdom
RASPUTINA United States
REBEKKA Germany
RED JASPER United Kingdom
REIFROCK Germany
REVERIE Italy
RIPAILLE France
RITMIA Italy
ROGER RODIER Canada
KARI RUESLATTEN Norway
RUJA Estonia
S VREMENA NA VREME Yugoslavia
SAD MINSTREL Italy
SAGA DE RAGNAR LODBROCK France
SAINT JUST Italy
SAKRE Spain
THE SALLYANGIE United Kingdom
SCAPA FLOW Finland
SCARLET THREAD Finland
SECRET GREEN United Kingdom
SEDMINA Yugoslavia
GILLES SERVAT France
SHANNON France
SHAVE THE MONKEY United Kingdom
SHIDE & ACORN United Kingdom
SHINE DION Norway
SILMARIL United States
SINDELFINGEN United Kingdom
SINTESIS Cuba
JIMI SLEVIN Ireland
SMELL OF INCENSE Norway
SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS United Kingdom
SORNE United States
SPARIFANKAL Germany
SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE United States
SPIROGYRA United Kingdom
SPRIGUNS (OF TOLGUS) United Kingdom
STACKRIDGE United Kingdom
VLATKO STEFANOVSKI Macedonia
ALAN STIVELL France
STONE ANGEL United Kingdom
STÓRSVEIT NIX NOLTES Iceland
STRANGE DAYS United Kingdom
STRAWBS United Kingdom
PEKKA STRENG Finland
STRING CHEESE United States
STRING DRIVEN THING United Kingdom
SUBURBANO Spain
SUBWAY Multi-National
SÜNDENFALL II Germany
SUPAY Peru
SUR PACIFICO Chile
SUSSITA Israel
SYNANTHESIA United Kingdom
TALAMASCA United States
TALITHA QUMI Romania
TAMALONE Netherlands
TAMARUGO Chile
TANGERINE France
TARENTULE France
LOU MAXWELL TAYLOR United States
TEA AND SYMPHONY United Kingdom
TEMPEST United States
TENHI Finland
TERRA MYSTICA Slovenia
THE THIRD ESTATE United States
THISTLETOWN United Kingdom
THORK France
THURSAFLOKKURINN Iceland
TIR NA NOG Ireland
TIRILL Norway
TORNAOD France
TRADER HORNE United Kingdom
TREES United Kingdom
THE TREES COMMUNITY United States
TREMBLING BELLS United Kingdom
TRI YANN France
TRIO DAG Yugoslavia
TROCARN Switzerland
TROISIČME RIVE France
TROISSOEUR Belgium
TUATHA DE DANANN Brazil
TUDOR LODGE United Kingdom
TUIMA Finland
TUNEFISH Germany
TURQUOISE Poland
TUSMŘRKE Norway
TYRANNOSAURUS REX (NOT T. REX) United Kingdom
U I BLUE United States
UDRAYA France
UNCLE DIRTYTOES United States
UNGAVA Canada
UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Ireland
STEVE UNRUH United States
UQBAR Argentina
US AND THEM Sweden
VEGA Spain
VIIMA Finland
VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS United Kingdom
JUNE WALLACK Canada
WATER INTO WINE BAND United Kingdom
WATERTOUCH Sweden
THE WAY WE LIVE United Kingdom
LEAH WAYBRIGHT United States
WERWOLF Germany
ROBIN WILLIAMSON United Kingdom
WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP Germany
WOVEN HAND United States
WURTEMBERG France
WYRDGENES United Kingdom
GABRIEL YACOUB France
YAVANNA Germany
YGGDRASIL Germany
YOKE SHIRE United States
YOU AND I Hungary
ZAGUAN Spain
ZARTONG Armenia
ZAUBER Italy
ZEIT Italy
ZLYE KUKLY Israel
ZRNI Czech Republic
ZYWIOLAK Poland

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