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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 of January 1, 2015

Bob Moore aka ClemofNazareth
Ken Levine aka Kenethlevine
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 | 2490 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.33 | 1912 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.17 | 1038 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.22 | 145 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.17 | 243 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.13 | 463 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.13 | 417 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.15 | 244 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.15 | 228 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.14 | 164 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.11 | 243 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.32 | 52 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.04 | 906 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.16 | 92 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.01 | 1078 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.13 | 99 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.00 | 849 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.21 | 58 ratings
THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Midlake
4.10 | 113 ratings
HÖLDERLINS TRAUM
Hoelderlin
3.99 | 855 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

MOTHER TWILIGHT
Faun Fables
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell of Incense
A CANDLE FOR JUDITH
Way We Live, The
SÓLO FUE UN SUEŃO
Omni

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 The Great and Secret Show by RED JASPER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 17 ratings

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The Great and Secret Show
Red Jasper Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars New for 2015 we have yet another tale of a band's lead singer leaving and the drummer stepping forward to handle those duties as easily as if he had been secretly practicing all those years...wait, could it be? One could certainly argue that the 18 years that have passed since the release of "Anagramary" afforded RED JASPER sufficient interval to find a replacement, but they opted to promote from within, always a good strategy for a non profit.

David Clifford's deep and lightly theatrical voice is not exactly a dead ringer for the departed Davey Dodds, but it's close enough that, when blended with the acoustic guitars and neo prog backing for which this band is known, leads to the correct guess well within the bounds of 20 questions. Already on "Anagramary", the band had eschewed its more overt English folk flavor and was sounding like MARILLION meets latter day TULL, even if the cover art conjures up the band, and country's, now distant past. "The Great and Secret Show" is a logical extension of that late 1990s effort, and indeed, apart from the sterling more hard rock production, sounds like it could have come hot on the heels of its predecessor.

While the band continues to sound one misstep away from faceless neo prog, their lyrical and performance oriented panache and their subtle insistence on melodic development continue to overachieve within the limited confines of the sub genre. Robin Harrison's lead and rhythm guitars are heavy at times but always with purpose, while Lloyd George's mellotronic strings can sound divine even when they are doing little more than mood setting. "An Hour of Time" exemplifies these favorable qualities while "Bonds Beyond Reason" works brilliantly as a menacing duet between Clifford and Soheila Clifford (perhaps relation?) , with hard riffs by Harrison as the jealous third wheel, and reminds me of Quebec's ELIPHASZ.

This edition of RED JASPER does not seem to have an Achilles' heel, and you might in fact find 2 other random tracks to be your favorites here. While the more folk oriented among us might continue to lament the loss of one of the few such proponents left in neo prog, RED JASPER seems intent on having us keep this great secret from everyone including ourselves. Magic!

 Valentine by HARPER, ROY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1974
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Valentine
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Erroneously listed under compilations and box sets in PA's Roy Harper discography, Valentine may be the summit of Harper's skills as a songwriter and that four of the album's songs are feature on his superb 2012 compilation album Songs Of Love And Loss, the most culled from any Harper album, and are there for a very good reason.

Aside from two Harper commentaries on his feelings towards Women's Lib, which is something along the line of you can't have your cake and eat it too, the other eight of the album's songs are about relationships past and present, and Harper is simply at his zenith when it comes to wearing his heart on his sleeves. The exception being Acapulco Gold in which Harper confesses love to both his lady and weed. Unlike the directness of Harper's 1970 album Flat, Baroque, And Berserk or the metaphorical obtuseness of Harper's material on Stormcock, from 1971, and Life Mask, from 1973, Harper combines the lyrical sensibilities of both styles on Valentine without becoming pretentious.

I'll See You Again and Twelve Hours Of Sunlight are among two of Harper's most potent and engrossing songs. The first about dismissing a lover because his feelings are unrequited and the second deals with longing compounded by a twelve hour flight from Europe to the US at twilight which seems to last an eternity (I know by personal experience) as the never ending day prolongs and compounds the feelings of loneliness and longing for a loved one. The instrumentation on the former is sparse acoustic guitar with multiple and necessary vocal overdubs by Harper, along with a sublime orchestral score by the late David Bedford that deftly combines baroque with a sense of modernism. Bedford's score on Twelve Hours Of Hours Sunset is even better with a string section that evokes both flight and loneliness. He is the album's unsung hero and almost bests himself with another ethereal score for Harper's take on the traditional Girl From The North Country.

There is not much that is blatantly progressive on Valentine, except for what is implied by trying to move folk rock into fresh territory, in which Harper easily succeeds. 4 stars.

 Alturas de Macchu Picchu by JAIVAS, LOS album cover DVD/Video, 2005
4.73 | 39 ratings

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Alturas de Macchu Picchu
Los Jaivas Prog Folk

Review by Hannibal_20

5 stars BETTER THAN LIVE AT POMPEII.

i am chilean an this is my first review but not for that discriminate my opinion and please sorry if my inglish is not perfect, lets go.

its really lamentable that a band like los jaivas be so unknown in this web.

iS THE ONLY BAND IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT PLAYED IN MACHU PICHU. (even pink floyd asked to do it and they were refused)

los jaivas made really good proggressive rock folk music, alturas de machu pichu born like a proyect to sing for latinoamerican identity an homenage to machu pichu and andean culture, BASED IN NOBEL PRIZE PABLO NERUDA POETRY (in fact lirycs are amazing)

so, lets start talking about the dvd

first theme "del aire al aire" a clasic and beautiful andean music with pan flutes and bird sounds introduces the video, then mario vargas llosa, a peruvian writer (nobel prize too) talk about machu pichu s magesty and neruda poetry

then starts the glorious theme LA PODEROSA MUERTE (the powerfull death) it talks about the death of the inca people and inca empire . in this theme we noticed the quality of the musicians los jaivas are, with a master piano start with trutruca (chilean indian trumpet) and beautiful quena melody (quena: andean flute) the song starts, gato alquinta sings, and various instrumental lines, minimoog, ocarina, MUST LISTEN THE EPIC ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLO and death bells... all these in cueca rithm, an chilean classic folk rithm, then and epic druming of gabriel parra to finish the first part of this theme of 12 minutes lengh then start piano and choruses of all integrants, up and down the stairs of machu pichu city, to end with

amor americano is less prog but a good composition too, aguila sideral is a really psichodelic song and with distorted guitars and voices, excelent bass and piano instrumental lines

antigua america and excelentent instrumental if you pay attention to this theme you will love it, it starts with folk instruments (pan flutes and a short quena solo) but then, the ecelent pianist claudio parra turns it on a excelent rock piece with the armonic bass, drums and piano armonies, ( PUT ATTENTION TO THE BASS GUITAR)

the song sube a nacer conmigo hermano, that talks about the suffering of inca people has to pass to build this beautiful city that machu pichu is, the lyrics are epical for example: SUBE A NACER CONMIGO HERMANO (come to arise with me, my brother),DAME LA MANO DESDE LA PROFUNDA ZONA DE TU DOLOR DISEMINADO (give me your hand form the deep zone of your disseminated pain YO VENGO A HABLAR POR VUESTRA BOCA MUERTA i come to talk about your death mouth... really beautifull poetry finally the short theme FINAL (it means the end) is a mainly piano and vocals musical poem

ALL THESE SONGS are performed in machu pichu (but with unplugged instruments cause the high sound of the instruments could be detrimental to the anceient city) all the songs you listen belong to the ALTURAS DE MACHU PICHU album of los jaivas

this albun and this perform represents a very important world culture piece, musically is a masterpiece of proggressive rock and is a real ode to machu picchu in all senses, lyrics, images, sounds... is the best proggressive music south america gave birth and it deserve more respect, the album alturas de machu pichu dont appear in the top 100 list just cause it is an southamerican work and it makes me anger. by fortune this dvd is on the top 23 of dvds list and if it has more pointings and reviews it for sure would be higher in the list

regards

Anibal Ignacio

 Santa Barbara Honeymoon by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Santa Barbara Honeymoon
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is bad. And sometimes change is just strange, as is the case of Bert Jansch's 1975 album Santa Barbara Honeymoon.

Recorded after Jansch's excellent first album for the British Charisma label, LA Turnaround from 1974, Santa Barbara Honeymoon sounds more like a wrong turn at times. In an effort, I would guess, to modernize his sound, Jansch utilized an obscure record producer who was a studio musician and a cast of thousands in the form of studio support players to produce an album that sounds quite polished but gives one the "who are you trying to kid?" feeling as Jansch tackles songs with male and female backing vocals that come off like a Nashville studio choir (Love Anew, When The Teardrops Fell) and horns and female backing in a swampy New Orleans jazz styled song that sounds like it was pirated from Dr.John The Night Tripper (Dance lady Dance).

This fascinating mix of styles even includes steel drums (!) on the songs Baby Blue and Build Another Band.

Like a hideous highway accident, it's hard to look away from this auto wreck, as it's just unbelievable that someone like Jansch could make an album so far out of his acoustic folk rock comfort zone.

I guess that's why I've played Santa Barbara Honeymoon about five times before writing this review. It's just too strange an album from Jansch to be ignored. But still, I cannot recommend it. If LA Turnaround puts one in a California state of mind, Santa Barbara Honeymoon will send you straight back to New York, both mentally and physically. 2 stars.

 The Black Swan by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Black Swan
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars What a difference a decade makes.

In what I believe is the late Bert Jansch's last recorded album, Black Swan, is as good as anything he has produced in the sixties and seventies, and is light years above his highly vaunted "return to form" album, 1995's When The Circus Comes To Town. The Black Swan is everything that When The Circus Comes To Town was not . Whatever it is that inspires gifted artists to raise their game was definitely evident on this album as Jansch's songwriting is once again stellar and his guitar playing, though still a bit restrained, is as impressive as ever with Jansch occasionally but briefly taking off in flights of fancy that come to close to Flamenco styles runs along with his ever present percussive string pops and his basic ability to sound like a guitarist born with an extra hand.

Jansch's voice shows only a sliver of hoarseness, which is amazing considering the abuse he had put it through. Indeed, it makes songs like the title track even more heartfelt with his world weary delivery

The title track is also the album's lead off song and it's one of Jansch's best. Just Bert and his guitar explaining about the hopelessness of space travelers searching for a new home. The Black Swan is their vehicle, and the planet they have escaped is no logner habitable. (Earth in the future?). A beautifully mournful cello accompanies this song along with ominous percussion that sounds off in the song's coda.

High Days is a Jansch remembrance song of a long ago love that brilliantly features just Bert and his guitar.

When The Sun Comes Up is a Jansch original song by guest vocalist Beth Orten, who has a beautiful voice with a slight hoarseness similar to Janschs' and it complements his own very well, especially on the traditional song Watch The Stars, which is song as a duet and is an old Pentangle standard that was originally sung by Pentangle member and past Jansch solo collaborator, the late great John Renbourn.

Jansch also resurrects his signature Pentangle song A Woman Like You which is infinitely more soulful and heartfelt this time around, and is given a country lilt thanks to a change in the song's arrangement by Jansch.

Bring Your Religion and Texas Cowboy Blues give Jansch a chance to rock out with a full rhythm section and deft slide guitar work from guest player Richard Wood. Both songs also give Jansch a chance to be topical, especially on Texas Cowboy Blues, which is an unabashed swipe at the then presiding Bush policies regarding the Iraq invasion.

Madellina's Dance is a banjo duet with Jansch and guest player Paul Wasif that also features flute from guest Maggie Boyle. It's not the best instrumental that I've ever heard forn Jansch but it's a good set up for closing track Hey Pretty Girl. Another quality Jansch original featuring just Bert and guitar performing the the guitar wizardry stated in my opening. Great stuff and a wonderful return to form from one the greatest, and deeply missed, acoustic guitar masters. 4 stars.

 Secrets of Angels by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.74 | 40 ratings

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Secrets of Angels
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I hadn't bought a Karnataka album since 2003's Delicate Flame of Desire. It's Celtic infused prog folk was pleasant enough but left me a little underwhelmed. However on a recent Classic Rock magazine freebie Cd my attention was caught by the powerful Road To Cairo with its middle-eastern vibe, strong melodies and latest singer Hayley Griffiths crystal clear expressive tones.

Secrets Of Angels turns out to be a pretty good album but Road To Cairo is its best song. I'd question whether much of this music can be classed as prog, symphonic pop would seem a better description for the most part and there's certainly not much trace of the folk elements anymore. It's not complex music but all very slick and well played with a lush production. When I listen to Secrets Of Angels I could imagine a lot of this music sitting comfortably in a west end musical or in the soundtrack to a Walt Disney film like Frozen or Beauty And The Beast. Partly down to Hayley Griffiths classically trained background no doubt but sometimes the music gets a bit too sweet and twee for my tastes, especially the sugary ballad Fairytale Lies.

I did say Secrets Of Angels is a pretty good album though and it certainly does have its moments. Apart from the previously mentioned opener Road To Cairo, Poison Ivy and Borderline hit with a bit more punch. We're not talking metal here of course but the guitars do cut through the symphonic wall of sound a bit more. The album closes on a high with the 20 minute title track, which is a bit more along the lines of my pre-conceived expectations. It shifts from a Celtic flavoured opening into more bombastic orchestral flavoured parts and has plenty of dynamics with more instrumental interplay than the rest of the album put together, but still giving attention to some strong vocal melodies. At last I'm hearing some prog!

Overall then Secrets Of Angels is a pleasant listen with some strong melodies but unlikely to appeal to those who prefer their prog on the more adventurous side. A few more songs like Road To Cairo could have really raised the level considerably. As it stands a worthy 3 stars.

 Thick As A Brick Live in Iceland by ANDERSON, IAN album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.15 | 7 ratings

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Thick As A Brick Live in Iceland
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Ian Anderson has been in Iceland for 9 shows, mostly in Reykjavik where this show was recorded. The musician feel the presence of music here, because a lot of people plays an instrument or sings. Here on this concert, the band took the same instruments to recreate the first concept album "Thick as A Brick", originally from 1972. The performance has some additional theatrical input with actor, singer and dancer Ryan O'Donnell which allowed Ian Anderson to add some more flute to the music. Even is this album is a kind of parody, I was surprised to see Ian invite 2 peoples from the audience to make a standup comic stunt of a fake prostate test. But it didn't last long before the band were back to the music. The performance of this concept album let some space for a bit of improvisation and some added violin and flute. After 40 years, it's still a enjoyable piece of music where some theme are repeated a few times during this 50 minutes to keep the concept alive. As for the second part of the show "Thick As A Brick 2", if it's the suite of this concept about this young boy, it's different because we feel that each songs are independent to each others, the concept being to present 5 hypothetical stories around this boy. You can only identify a connection musically with the first album, when some short segments of this album have been included to the second album. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same magic here that I found on the first album.

The theatrical aspect of the show didn't bother me much, except for the standup comic part. A better idea was to see and hear the violin of Anna Phoebe direct with Skype from her bedroom in London. The picture is ok, not the best for a high definition show, but the surround sound is really immersive. Is it a nice addition to a Prog rock collection when we already have heard the album? I would say probably not, but also because the second part was not as good as the first one.

 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.13 | 463 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album is what progressive rock was about back in its heyday. The drive to push rock music further afield and into other fields. What an exemplary album "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" is of that. Do I like it? Well, yes and... yeah, it's alright. But never mind that. Here are four musicians who really tried to create something original.

The album is loosely based on a game of chess. Sounds utterly boring, does it not? Thankfully, other than the track titles, there is no hint of chess being played and in fact it is rather difficult to continue imagining a game of chess being played to this music. It is lively, it is diverse, it is bold, it is entertaining. We have rock and renaissance, folk and classical. We have guitars and the whole rock band deal along with bassoons and krum horns and some other woodwind instruments. In "Second Spasm" we have something that sounds like a renaissance duck duo. "Lament" features some lovely pastoral passages. Each of the four compositions follows a different course, though you will notice that each piece weaves its own wild course through varying melodies and themes.

One thing that struck me was how blatantly obvious it became that the American prog band Yezda Urfa were inspired by Gryphon, particularly "Second Spasm". There are sections of the music with its speedy guitars and rapid fire rhythm (in odd meters of course) that sound like they came straight off "Sacred Baboon" except for that Gryphon did it first.

For another comparison, I find the music is as busy as that of Anglagard or Wobbler, who both introduce musical themes like runners coming across the finish line at a race. Gryphon, too, will give you some melody for 24 bars or maybe 32, and then that one is discarded and an entirely different melody and meter will abruptly take its place. Which means this is no slow and gently progressing set of instrumentals but rather a sometimes torpedic (is there such a word?) ride through a magical music landscape.

As for my personal opinion, I find the music on this album to be admirably bold and progressive and at times a tad over the hedge. I love some of the parts but not all. Too much renaissance bassoon and krum horn doesn't sound so cool in the car stereo, and the duck duo, though well executed, is not something to play when the wife is around. Once again I am reminded that listening to this kind of prog is sometimes a very private affair.

I would say it is a masterpiece and certainly essential if classic seventies prog in all its wondrous forms is your fancy. However, I am certain there are plenty of progheads out there who will find this a little too out there. I'll give it four stars.

 Krataia Asterope by DAEMONIA NYMPHE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Krataia Asterope
Daemonia Nymphe Prog Folk

Review by Aldebaran_Well

4 stars If your fields of interest include searching for antiquity or religion related music, don' t stop reading, for Daemonia Nymphe is one of the most interesting acts worldwide and probably the band you were searching for.

Historians, scholars and art critics agree that most of the artists who claim that they reproduce ''ancient Greek'' music are frauds. That is because the archaeological findings concerning music are very very few and they don't offer enough information about how that music actually sounded. So, most of those who ''reproduce'' ancient music are doing so based merely on imagination and not on actual knowledge. Daemonia Nymphe is a completely different case though and the only one I know (along with the French Kerylos Ensemble) that have really dedicated themselves and their art to the musical recreation of that era. In my opinion, this consistent effort becomes successful for three reasons: 1) the construction and use of original handcrafted ancient instruments of luthier Nicholas Brass 2) obviously, band members are not connected to greek antiquity only artistically but philosophically/religiously as well and 3)their passion evolves through real knowledge.

The music of Daemonia Nymphe trips the listener 2500-3000 years back in time. The sound is basically theatrical and could be easily used as a soundtrack of an ancient drama. Male and female vocals interact constantly, ranging from narrations to ethereal choir parts, string instruments perform simple but powerful melodies/harmonies and percussion instruments deliver primitive, cosmic vibes. There are no choruses and complicated structures, only melodic and rhythmic patterns that support the concept of each composition, the sonic result is not monotonous though but deeply atmospheric. There is no point for a track by track analysis, as all songs seem like different chapters of the same book. All tracks represent rituals or hymns and lyrics (in ancient Greek) deal with spiritual (referring to gods, deities, etc) or mythological concepts. Now, if all this seems a bit weird to you, concentrate on the music itself and you may feel haunted by it. The band refers to its art as ''World Ethereal music''. It is true that what seems local becomes truly global, in this and many other occasions.

The obvious musical reference is the early Dead Can Dance. The big difference is that DCD were inspired by many cultures and civilizations in an exotic manner, while Daemonia Nymphe's art comes from their own blood and experience, it lives under their skin. It feels like this music does not desire to be pleasant, impressive or great but yearns to fulfil a deeper, inner cause: to appeal to the listener's timeless part of the soul, the one that unifies us with the earth, the sea, the mountains and the stars. It is impressive that music of such ancient times can be experienced as something new, as something that can be part of contemporary art. Yes, something so old can be ''progressive''!

Some final remarks: Though most tracks are definitely dark (with the introduction ''Esodos'' being one of the darkest tunes I've ever heard), ''Mouson' and ''Divine Goddess of Fertility' show the listener a path to the light, too. It is also very interesting that in tracks ''Dios Astrapaios'',''Sirens of Ulysses'' and ''Hymenaios'', ancient and modern traditional Greek music becomes one, you can actually sense all these passing centuries become dust, unimportant for art itself. Especially ''Dios Astrapaios'', featuring Psarantonis (one of the most famous and distinctive modern folk Greek artists), reconciles the past and the present in the most vivid and creative way. I have to say though that my favourite track is the self titled one, a divine tune that instantly takes you by the hand and guides you to this timeless realm.

As a Greek, I am proud of my land's history and I like to promote the good and worthy Greek progressive artists, so in this case I can do both! Don't treat Daemonia Nymphe as another prog band, for this is not their only nature. If you have the chance to see them live and experience the visual performance too (with their masks, costumes and everything), you will then be able to treat them as what they basically are: a cultural phenomenon.

4 ancient stars.

 Glass Shadows by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.38 | 89 ratings

BUY
Glass Shadows
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There really isn't much to say about this album other than it contains virtually no prog. It is a collection of pleasant songs sung by male and female vocalists and there is some Celtic influence. The guitar work is quite good in some passages and, as with most of the Mostly Autumn albums, is very much influenced by David Gilmour's guitar work in Pink Floyd, minus the progressive elements. The music is good enough, but it offers no challenge or nothing out of the ordinary. From what I have heard from this band, the first album was the best, but there never was any progression beyond that sound. Yes, it's very nice music, but again, nothing really stands out much. The highlight is the 11+ minute title track, but honestly, it is very reminiscent of the excellent song "Heroes Never Die" from their first album and doesn't really offer anything new. Again, other than that, there really isn't much to elaborate on here. Good, but non-essential.
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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
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
ATMAN Poland
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
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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
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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
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KARNATAKA United Kingdom
CHRIS KARRER Germany
KATALENA Slovenia
KEBNEKAISE Sweden
KERRS PINK Norway
KING FISH CROW United States
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
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LI TROUBAIRES DE COUMBOSCURO Italy
LISA O PIU Sweden
LISKER Spain
LONG LIVE DEATH United States
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CLARE LOUISE France
LUMSK Norway
MADDEN AND HARRIS Australia
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MAGMA Argentina
MAJA DE RADO & PORODICNA MANUFAKTURA CRNOG HLEBA Yugoslavia
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JOHN MARTYN United Kingdom
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LE MATCH Canada
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COLIN MOLD United Kingdom
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MOTIS France
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MR. BROWN Sweden
MR. TOAD Israel
MUNDI DOMINI Canada
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NYA LJUDBOLAGET Sweden
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OBERON United Kingdom
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OLOFERNE Italy
OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
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ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
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PARADOX Poland
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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
QUINTAL DE CLOROFILA Brazil
QUINTETO ARMORIAL Brazil
RABBIT RABBIT (CARLA KIHLSTEDT & MATTHIAS BOSSI) United States
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
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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
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SUPAY Peru
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TANGERINE France
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TARUJEN SAARI Finland
LOU MAXWELL TAYLOR United States
TEA AND SYMPHONY United Kingdom
TEMPEST United States
TENHI Finland
TERRA MYSTICA Slovenia
BOB THEIL United Kingdom
THE THIRD ESTATE United States
THISTLETOWN United Kingdom
THOBY LOTH Finland
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
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TUATHA DE DANANN Brazil
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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 (WEREWOLF ART ROCK) Germany
ROBIN WILLIAMSON United Kingdom
WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP Germany
WOVEN HAND United States
WURTEMBERG France
WYRDGENES United Kingdom
GABRIEL YACOUB France
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YGGDRASIL Germany
YOKE SHIRE United States
YOU AND I Hungary
ZAGUAN Spain
ZARTONG Armenia
ZAUBER Italy
ZEIT Italy
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ZRNI Czech Republic
ZYWIOLAK Poland

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