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Kevin Werbenjagermanjensen

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SPECIAL COLLABORATOR: Honorary Collaborator

Member since: 7/1/2015 • Forum posts: 5950 • Last visit: 11/30/2019 7:37:59 PM EST
Location: Out East

Progressive Biography

So how did it all begin for yours truly?

My story begins 4.2 billion years ago, when a primordial Earth was just beginning to settle down from the hot soup of molten cosmic debris that it initially was. At this point, a certain collection of silicate and alkali molecules decided that they had had enough of floating about in the liquid state and relaxed into fixed lattices, which in turn conglomerated into a heterogeneous mixture proportioned roughly 20% quartz and 65% alkali feldspar. Apparently this new solid state was the vogue for young, impressionable Earth, because many an atom followed suit and contributed to the creation of massive mountain ranges of towering granite. And thus, the earliest traceable origins of what we now call "Canada" took form. This is marginally important to my story. I apologize for skimming through, too quickly, as well; I'm sure that you're all lost without the proper context of the Planck Epoch coming to an end and separating the strong-electroweak interaction into the three forces we experience today, and the formation of our solar system, and all those juicy details. But for narrative purposes I think it would be best for me to just stick to the key points. Anyhoo, to make a long story short, self-replicating organic macromolecules became a thing, continents moved around, and socioeconomic thingies prompting emigration from northern and western Europe took place here and there, culminating in Mr. and Mrs. Vaeltaja chancing to meet one another and, consequently, bringing me here today to write about prog. Seems a little anticlimactic, doesn't it?

There were a few major events in my life that got me to where I am right now, musically. The first of these was at the age of 8. It was a Thursday morning. 8AM. My Dad and I got in the car to go to school. While pulling onto the freeway, he asked me to put a CD in to listen to. It began to play. Deep Purple - Machine Head. For the next 6 minutes, I heard my first real rock song (not the garbage they played on top 40 radio every now and then): Highway Star. And after the most exhilarating morning commute of my life, I knew that this whole music thing was right for me.

A year or two later, while trying to find something new to listen to in my dad's collection, I came across a very fascinating CD. The cover was like no other that I'd ever seen. An alien winged longboat soaring over a shattering world, the void of space behind... that looked cool enough. So I put on my headphones and sure enough, it was that reversed fade-in piano note and classical guitar that followed it that got me started on my REAL journey into interesting, breathtaking, creative, artistic music. Yes - Fragile. My very first prog album, I didn't really catch on to how great the entire thing really was until a few years later. But "Roundabout" lured me in right from the start, and still gives me that same kick each and every time I put it on as when I first heard it.

In the years that followed that, I started to get into more guitar-oriented music. Van Halen was my absolute favourite for a few years, and got me playing music, the drums, for the first time at age 10. I was happy as could be pounding along to Alex's double bass pedals for a few years, at which point I started to delve even deeper into what music had to offer. Begin the world's biggest Eddie Van Halen fan, I took an immediate liking to Joe Satriani, and then Steve Vai. It was at this point, when I listened to "Fire Garden" for the first time back in middle school that I realized guitar was too cool not to take up. And so I did and I still play to this very day, although by this point I concede that I will never be able to play quite like Steve can.

I guess that my whole guitar fixation was a positive thing in the long run, because it encouraged me to check out another pivotal album in my development: Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow. After all, the cover is a guy playing a guitar. What could go wrong? And thus I was introduced to the wide world of jazz fusion. While perusing some Jeff Beck videos on youtube, I chanced upon an eye-catching thumbnail. It was the cover of Brand X's Moroccan Roll, still one of the coolest album covers ever put out. After browsing them for a while and digging it, I saw another related video that interested me. "Camel - Moonmadness". "Heh, that's a funny name for a band". I was surprised, though, because I ended up hearing something that didn't sound funny at all, but very lush and atmospheric, almost a bit like those Yes albums I listened to a while ago. So after falling in love with Camel, and then some IQ, and then Uriah Heep, and then more of the Yes material that I ignored back when I was 9, I decided that this whole "prog" thing wasn't too bad of a genre to get into.

In 2015 I worked up the courage to join a little site called ProgArchives that I'd been lurking for a while. This proved to be a good decision, as it has been a valuable resource that has allowed me to discover many of my favourite albums and artists, let me voice my thoughts on music to people who actually care, and my friends always get a kick out of hearing about the fascinating characters you meet in the forums. After about a year I was invited to join as a collaborator for the eclectic prog team and I'm glad I did because I would miss out on plenty of very cool modern music otherwise.

As far as my prog philosophies, I absolutely love music that takes me to another place. I stay completely sober, so music is how I personally get my little bouts of escapist relief. As well, I always consider the instrumentals to be the most interesting part of a song. The thicker, more complex and richer in timbre, the better, though minimalism can win me over in rare cases. Lyrics blow right by me nine times out of ten, so I tend to gravitate towards lyricists who throw together an interesting-sounding phrase or two every now and again, and singers who use their voice as an instrument. Hence, my adoration of Jon Anderson and Sinfield-era King Crimson. With English lyrics not being a prerequisite, I've taken plenty of interest in venturing into prog scenes around the world. Italy, Quebec and Argentina have had particularly lucrative outputs to my ears. I feel that music with a strong and authentic sense of identity always shines through, so it's interesting hearing different perspectives on prog from different cultures.

I tend to have a bias towards the classic era of prog, but that's more due to production aesthetics than anything. Plenty of great ideas are getting thrown around today only to be made boring by either overly sterile or overly heavy production. As far as subgenres I avoid, I can't say I'm super keen on crossover, heavy prog, any of the prog metal genres, krautrock, or neo-prog, though there are works from most of these that I enjoy. As far as "safe" subgenres, I'll usually like stuff from eclectic, symphonic, RPI, or jazz fusion, though these are no doubt susceptible to their fair share of duds.

If you've read this far, you're probably a little tired of reading long paragraphs, so I'll just put down some lists for you to peruse at your leisure.

Prog albums that are very special to me:

Arco Iris - Sudamerica
Bubu - Anabelas
Cherry Five - Cherry Five
Genesis - Trespass
Harmonium - Si On Avait Besoin d'Une Cinquieme Saison
Khan - Space Shanty
King Crimson - Lizard
King Crimson - Islands
PFM - Storia Di Un Minuto
Rayuela - Rayuela
Yes - The Yes Album
Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans

Stuff I like aside from prog:

1. SOUTHERN ROCK!!! The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and the Charlie Daniels Band are all as close to my heart as my favourite prog artists. Ronnie Van Zant and Duane Allman are personal heroes of mine.

2. Physics! I'm currently studying physics and absolutely loving it, and I'm planning on riding the academia train as far as it goes!

3. Martial Arts!

4. Road trips!

5. Ken M! The man is the greatest philosopher of our time.


"Vulgarity is the fool's fig leaf."

Reviews distribution by sub-genre

 Sub-genreNb of reviewsAvg rating
1 Eclectic Prog253.88
2 Symphonic Prog223.64
3 Jazz Rock/Fusion193.58
4 Prog Related123.17
5 Prog Folk83.00
6 Proto-Prog73.43
7 Heavy Prog63.17
8 Neo-Prog63.17
9 Rock Progressivo Italiano64.67
10 Crossover Prog52.40
11 Psychedelic/Space Rock43.00
12 Canterbury Scene24.50
13 RIO/Avant-Prog13.00

Reviews and Ratings

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