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Toadmaster

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Unfortunately, I wasn't. When I was younger, I thought that I liked Prog Rock, then joined the Prog Rock Society at University and very quickly found that I liked popular Prog Rock, not the stuff that drones on and on with 5 minute solos.

This pretty much goes for me. I have the same issue with "jam bands" like the Greatful Dead, and a lot of stuff from the Psychedelic era. I can do about 6 minutes, maybe 7 and then SQUIRREL!
 

TheophilusCarter

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This pretty much goes for me. I have the same issue with "jam bands" like the Greatful Dead, and a lot of stuff from the Psychedelic era. I can do about 6 minutes, maybe 7 and then SQUIRREL!
I can sympathize with that. Don't even get me started on Phish, which was pretty much all anyone I knew listened to when I was in college ...
 

James Gillen

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There's a pretty simple lithmus test, if it's annoying as hell to me it's most likely prog rock. Therefore, Talk Talk simply cannot be prog rock.
Are you saying that Alvin and the Chipmunks is prog?

jg
 

Voros

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I can sympathize with that. Don't even get me started on Phish, which was pretty much all anyone I knew listened to when I was in college ...

To me the issue is less the length of a solo, although obviously maintaining invention over a long period is more difficult, but that many of the 'jam bands' and a number of prog bands just lack the chops for extended improvisation.

As for the Dead though, I quite like their discography from their debut up to American Beauty with Anthems of the Sun being the best combination of their psychedelic live sound in a studio, ironically much better than the rather boring and noodley Live/Dead.

For the endless live recordings I prefer their early Garage sound in the mid 60s to the late 60s when they still played with a noisey edge, after that they became too narcoleptic for me although Blues for Allah is a fine return to form and Garcia's 1972 self-titled solo album (not be confused with the 74' self-titled album!) is also trippy goodness.
 

Dumarest

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For me the Grateful Dead really got it together in 1970 and then post-'72 their material seemed to me to get weaker, thinner, and more aimless. These albums are really great, though:
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I will admit they have a large amount of material I haven't heard, but I also don't feel compelled to check it out unless someone plays me something outstanding.
 

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Regarding the never ending solos, this is one area where the current generation of prog bands enjoy the advantage of hindsight.

Undertand this, the pioneers of prog in the 70s had no blueprint for what "prog" should sound like so they were kind of making the rules as they went. Ever since the Beatle 's Sgt Pepper album there was an open question about how far can you push rock and roll. They were also basically kids, full of themselves and high on drug most of the time. When success came for the lucky few, it put a huge pressure on these bands to go even bigger and weirder fro their next project. It's a miracle anything coherent came out of this at all.

Musicians involved in prog now are not true pioneers and as such one could argue the term "prog" isn't really applicable. But they've learned from their predecessors. Technological advances in music recording and distribution means they are no longer hostage to a record company, I don't know enough of the background of each individual to generalise, but my impression is that they is a lot less pressure of expectation on these musicians and in some instances their prog activites might not even be their main source of income. So the end results are often more polished than that of their predecessors.
 

Toadmaster

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I wonder if the English recording industry didn't have something to do with the length of tracks on the albums, perhaps more tolerant of experimentation. Many of the American psychedelic era bands were known for lengthy solos live but other than Iron Butterfly's 17 minute In-a-goda-da-vida (even this much shortened from some of their live performances :shock: ) most of the albums from these bands contain tracks of fairly standard length.

John Cleese mentions in one of the Monty Python documentaries that in the late 1960s execs at the BBC had the good sense to let the artists perform, and the executives went off to the pub and this is what allowed them to do what they did. Perhaps the English music executives of this time had the same mindset. American labels have long been known to meddle in an attempt to maximize what they see as commercially viable.
 

Dumarest

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So, once I have some discretional money I plan to get a hold of a few "prog rock" albums. Likely the King Crimson record that I heard, maybe an early Genesis LP. I'm fairly organized (my records are filed alphabetically by artist and then chronologically if more than one by the same artist: Rubber Soul to the left of Revolver), and I usually like to start at the beginning. Give me some suggestions for what early-phase "prog rock" albums I should check out. Does Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd count? Post-Barrett? Hit me up with your Top 3 suggestions; whichever get the most consensus I'll probably check out first.
 

Dumarest

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I wonder if the English recording industry didn't have something to do with the length of tracks on the albums, perhaps more tolerant of experimentation. Many of the American psychedelic era bands were known for lengthy solos live but other than Iron Butterfly's 17 minute In-a-goda-da-vida (even this much shortened from some of their live performances :shock: ) most of the albums from these bands contain tracks of fairly standard length.

John Cleese mentions in one of the Monty Python documentaries that in the late 1960s execs at the BBC had the good sense to let the artists perform, and the executives went off to the pub and this is what allowed them to do what they did. Perhaps the English music executives of this time had the same mindset. American labels have long been known to meddle in an attempt to maximize what they see as commercially viable.
I'm assuming you're excluding jazz when you say this?
 

James Gillen

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Is Pink Floyd post-Barrett prog? I'd say so. With Barrett? Insofar as it was psychedelia, yes.

JG
 

Toadmaster

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I'm assuming you're excluding jazz when you say this?

Yes, just looking at "rock" which tended to fall into a standard of 2-5 minutes.

I wasn't looking at inspirations for prog, more wondering how much the recording execs in the UK vs the USA may have been an influence on permitted length of tracks.
 

PolarBlues

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So, once I have some discretional money I plan to get a hold of a few "prog rock" albums. Likely the King Crimson record that I heard, maybe an early Genesis LP. I'm fairly organized (my records are filed alphabetically by artist and then chronologically if more than one by the same artist: Rubber Soul to the left of Revolver), and I usually like to start at the beginning. Give me some suggestions for what early-phase "prog rock" albums I should check out. Does Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd count? Post-Barrett? Hit me up with your Top 3 suggestions; whichever get the most consensus I'll probably check out first.


I'll stick to my top three suggestions
King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King"
Genesis "Selling England by the Pound"

Yes "Close to the Edge"

All three are top quality albums, uncontroversially prog and I think they've stood the test of time better than most. Other ealry Geneisis like Nursery Crime, Foxtrot and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (my parsonal favourite) are also excellent, but I think Selling England by the Pound is all round the most consistent. Jethrol Tull Aqualung migth also be worth considering, it was a huge deal at the time though I've not heard it in a very long time. I stuggle to recommend a specif Emerson, Lake and Palmer album, their album always a few a mix awesome tracks mixed with some really naff ones.

I don't particularly care for definitions, but you'll get a lot of people arguing that Floyd were not prog. It's great music, totally worth getting into, but if you are looking archetypal prog, maybe it would not be my starting point.

Note, the difference between "early" prog and "peak" is very slim, often just a matter or 2 or three years. It kind of kicked of in 1969-1970 and 1972-1973 reaches full maturity and some may argue, parhaps a little harshly, that it was downhill from there.
 
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PolarBlues

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I wonder if the English recording industry didn't have something to do with the length of tracks on the albums, perhaps more tolerant of experimentation. Many of the American psychedelic era bands were known for lengthy solos live but other than Iron Butterfly's 17 minute In-a-goda-da-vida (even this much shortened from some of their live performances :shock: ) most of the albums from these bands contain tracks of fairly standard length.

John Cleese mentions in one of the Monty Python documentaries that in the late 1960s execs at the BBC had the good sense to let the artists perform, and the executives went off to the pub and this is what allowed them to do what they did. Perhaps the English music executives of this time had the same mindset. American labels have long been known to meddle in an attempt to maximize what they see as commercially viable.

I honestly could not say. It worth remembering that the key prog bands were, for a short while, commercially and critically successful. That buys you a lot of goodwill with any record company.
 

PolarBlues

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But is that polish a good thing?

Yes, yes it is. Especially when you are experimenting you need a healthy amount of self-awareness and have clear in your head what you want to achieve. There is of course room for raw emotion and improvisation, but at the end of the padding is padding and bad ideas are bad ideas.

To draw a roleplaying parallel, modern prog (or neo-prog as I've heard it called) is a bit like the OSR. There is a recongition that some forms developed back in the early 70s which may have fallen out of favour still work very well and have something to say. At the same time it is also a chance to take stock of things which (subjectively) didn't work that well or incorporate new ideas that have evovled since.

The parallel extends also to how it's produced. As with music, technological advances mean that you aren't tied to a big publisher to produce and distribute your product. And the best of it is really professional and very creative.
 

Stevethulhu

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Is Pink Floyd post-Barrett prog? I'd say so. With Barrett? Insofar as it was psychedelia, yes.

JG
Floyd, at least Barrett and Gilmour/Waters era Floyd, is usually considered psychedelic rather than prog. They tend to be more about the soundscapes and less of the virtuosity than most stuff that gets called prog.
 

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King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Yes: The Yes Album
Genesis: Trespass
I never could stomach ELP.

Crimson's first two albums (which have the virtue of being more or less sonically identical anyway) are very good.
Yes' best work, IMHO, is from Close to the Edge to Going for the One (mainly for Awaken and Wondrous Stories). I found the Yes Album lacking, probably because Tony Kaye's a bit rubbish on the organ. Starship Trooper is good though.
As for Genesis, it has to be the Lamb. Their earlier stuff is a bit too inconsistent for me. Watcher of the Skies and Fountain of Salmacis are fantastic tracks though.

Oh and give tales from topographic oceans a miss. After the first two tracks it's all downhill. And those two tracks are twice the length they should be. Just get stoned and listen to Olias of Sunhillow instead (the actual fuck is that about).

I can also recommend late seventies and early eightes era Eloy who are a bit stiff necked (they are German :grin:)
 

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I objectively I can ccept all criticism levelled against Tales of the Topographic Oceans, but I still love it. For me the inspired parts more than make up for the weaker ones. But I would not necessarily go out and recommend it.
 

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It's just too long. Each of the pieces has good ideas, but they are twice the length they ought to be.
 

PolarBlues

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Switching to another related topic: prog tribute bands.

I used to find the whole concept of tribute bands tacky beyond words. Then I went to see Muscial Box. Muscial Box does exact recreation of classic Genesis gigs. They are expectional and I've gone back seen them a few times. Very soon into the gig you forget that you watching a recreation and just get lost in the music.

The best one was Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Hearing the entire album end to end with the orignal sets and coreograohy was amazing. I am (relatively) too young to have caught the original shows, so thiese recreations really do fulfiull a purpose.

I've also seen Australian and Icelandic Pink Floyd tribute bands. Very good shows, once you get other the wierdness of the concept.
 

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Few remember them now, but italian bands in the first half of the '70s created some albums which are simply immortal.

New Trolls:



Banco del Mutuo Soccorso:



Area with Demetrio Stratos, possibly the greatest singer to have ever lived:

 

Dumarest

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Listened to a bunch of tunes for free via YouTube and have sent away for four LPs:
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Selling England by the Pound really grabbed me. I'll probably get Trespass, Fragile, and Tarkus after I've annoyed the kids with these for a while*. :hehe:

* Funny thing is I played some Maori singing/drumming stuff the other day and my daughter moaned and groaned about it and then, after it was over, asked me to play it again. :music:
 

PolarBlues

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Listened to a bunch of tunes for free via YouTube and have sent away for four LPs:
Selling England by the Pound really grabbed me. I'll probably get Trespass, Fragile, and Tarkus after I've annoyed the kids with these for a while*. :hehe:

* Funny thing is I played some Maori singing/drumming stuff the other day and my daughter moaned and groaned about it and then, after it was over, asked me to play it again. :music:

Great selection, you are in for a rare treat, sir.
 

Apparition

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The episode airing tonight was originally supposed to be the season premiere, but it was shuffled with this past Sunday night's episode. Rumor is that FOX executives thought that the episode airing tonight would be "too sci-fi" for the just watched football crowd to stay tuned in.
 

Dumarest

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The episode airing tonight was originally supposed to be the season premiere, but it was shuffled with this past Sunday night's episode. Rumor is that FOX executives thought that the episode airing tonight would be "too sci-fi" for the just watched football crowd to stay tuned in.
Wrong thread or did I miss something?
 

Dumarest

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Selling England by the Pound arrived. We've been busy so all we've played is the first track, but my seven-year-old daughter admitted to liking it. :thumbsup:
 

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Not bad, however there's a really simple way to discern if music is prog these days.

Does it feature Roine Stolt? If yes = then PROG!

As for King Crimson,what on earth are they doing? Why have they got three drummers?

Roine played bass at the Steve Hackett concert I went to a couple of years ago. But I'm fairly sure Steve gets a pass on the Roine requirement.
 

Dumarest

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Played more of Selling England by the Pound while driving the kids to Grandma's house this morning. We already heard "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" yesterday, which my daughter said she liked. This morning they asked to hear more. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" seemed to go over well, as did "Firth of Fifth." "More Fool Me" didn't make mu cu of an impression one way or the other. My son was especially interested in "The Battle of Epping Forest" as he's in that stage where little boys like to make their little Army men and Lego men have battles, draw Star Wars space battles on paper, etc. Mainly the title of the song got his attention. Surprisingly they haven't told me it's boring or annoying as they usually do when I play a record I want to hear.

We'll probably hear "After the Ordeal," "The Cinema Show," and "Aisle of Plenty" on the drive home later and then start at the beginning again or swap it out for Close to the Edge by Yes.
 

Dahak

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One of my favorite record reviews of all time was for a Yes album. It was unfair, nasty, condescending, and useless, but still hilarious: "No."

I almost started a thread similar to this. I finally heard King Crimson's debut record not long ago. I probably have a few "prog rock" albums if we count Miles Davis and similarly "fused" artists. So hard to define sounds. I've actually been wondering where to start and what is considered "prog rock."

There was a similar review for GTR's sole self-titled album. The review simply said "SHT."

Jazz Fusion is usually thought of as being divided into Jazz-Rock Fusion, typically thought of as being prog-rock or nearly so (e.g, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Brand X, Colisseum II, Bruford) and Jazz-Funk Fusion, which usually isn't thought of that way (Headhunters, Weather Report, Miles Davis, etc.). So, maybe!
 
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