The ***Official*** Progressive Rock Thread

Ron Party

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What is progressive rock? From progarchives.com, we find the following:

A definition of Progressive Rock Music

Progressive rock (often shortened to prog or prog rock) is a form of rock music that evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." The term "art rock" is often used interchangeably with "progressive rock", but while there are crossovers between the two genres, they are not identical.

Progressive rock bands pushed "rock's technical and compositional boundaries" by going beyond the standard rock or popular verse-chorus-based song structures. Additionally, the arrangements often incorporated elements drawn from classical, jazz, and world music. Instrumentals were common, while songs with lyrics were sometimes conceptual, abstract, or based in fantasy. Progressive rock bands sometimes used "concept albums that made unified statements, usually telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme."

Progressive rock developed from late 1960s psychedelic rock, as part of a wide-ranging tendency in rock music of this era to draw inspiration from ever more diverse influences. The term was applied to the music of bands such as King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Soft Machine and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Progressive rock came into most widespread use around the mid-1970s. While progressive rock reached the peak of its popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s, neo-progressive bands have continued playing for faithful audiences in the subsequent decades.

Musical characteristics:

Form: Progressive rock songs either avoid common popular music song structures of verse-chorus-bridge, or blur the formal distinctions by extending sections or inserting musical interludes, often with exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections. Classical forms are often inserted or substituted, sometimes yielding entire suites, building on the traditional medleys of earlier rock bands. Progressive rock songs also often have extended instrumental passages, marrying the classical solo tradition with the improvisational traditions of jazz and psychedelic rock. All of these tend to add length to progressive rock songs, which may last longer than twenty minutes.

Timbre (instrumentation and tone color): Early progressive rock groups expanded the timbral palette of the then-traditional rock instrumentation of guitar, organ, bass, and drums by adding instruments more typical of jazz or folk music, such as flute, saxophone and violin, and more often than not used electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and electronic effects. Some instruments – most notably the Moog synthesizer and the Mellotron – have become closely associated with the genre.

Rhythm: Drawing on their classical, jazz, folk and experimental influences, progressive rock artists are more likely to explore time signatures other than 4/4 and tempo changes. Progressive rock generally tends to be freer in its rhythmic approach than other forms of rock music. The approach taken varies, depending on the band, but may range from regular beats to irregular or complex Time Signatures.

Melody and Harmony: In prog rock, the blues inflections of mainstream rock are often supplanted by jazz and classical influences. Melodies are more likely to be modal than based on the pentatonic scale, and are more likely to comprise longer, developing passages than short, catchy ones. Chords and chord progressions may be augmented with 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, and compound intervals; and the I-IV-V progression is much less common. Allusions to, or even direct quotes from, well-known classical themes are common. Some bands have used atonal or dissonant harmonies, and a few have even worked with rudimentary serialism.

Texture and imagery: Ambient soundscapes and theatrical elements may be used to describe scenes, events or other aspects of the concept. For example, Leitmotif is used to represent the various characters in Genesis' "Harold the Barrel" and "Robbery, Assault and Battery." More literally, the sounds of clocks and cash registers are used to represent time and money in Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.

Other characteristics:

Technology: To aid timbral exploration, progressive rock bands were often early adopters of new electronic musical instruments and technologies. The mellotron, particularly, was a signature sound of early progressive bands. Pink Floyd utilized an EMS Synthi A synthesizer equipped with a sequencer on their track "On the Run" from their 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. In the late 1970s, Robert Fripp, of King Crimson, and Brian Eno developed an analog tape loops effect (Frippertronics). In the 1980s, Frank Zappa used the Synclavier for composing and recording, and King Crimson utilized MIDI-enabled guitars, a Chapman Stick, and electronic percussion.

Concept albums: Collections of songs unified by an elaborate, overarching theme or story are common to progressive rock. As songs by progressive rock acts tend to be quite long, such collections have frequently exceeded the maximum length of recorded media, resulting in packages that require multiple vinyl discs, cassettes, or compact discs in order to present a single album. Concepts have included the historical, fantastical, and metaphysical, and even, in the case of Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, poking fun at concept albums.

Lyrical themes: Progressive rock typically has lyrical ambition similar to its musical ambition, tending to avoid typical rock/pop subjects such as love, dancing, etc., rather inclining towards the kinds of themes found in classical literature, fantasy, folklore, social commentry or all of these. Peter Gabriel (Genesis) often wrote surreal stories to base his lyrics around, sometimes including theatrical elements with several characters, while Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) combined social criticism with personal struggles with greed, madness, and death.

Presentation: Album art and packaging is often an important part of the artistic concept. This trend can be seen to have begun with The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and played a major part in the marketing of progressive rock. Some bands became as well known for the art direction of their albums as for their sound, with the "look" integrated into the band's overall musical identity. This led to fame for particular artists and design studios, most notably Roger Dean for his work with Yes, and Hipgnosis for their work with Pink Floyd and several other progressive rock groups.

Stage theatrics: Beginning in the early 1970s, some progressive rock bands began incorporating elaborate and sometimes flamboyant stage theatrics into their concerts. Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel wore many different colourful and exotic costumes in one show and frequently acted out the lyrical narrative of the songs, and the band used lasers and giant mirrors synchronized with the music. Yes incorporated futuristic stage sets designed by Roger Dean, including massive spaceship props and complex lighting. Yes also performed 'in-the-round', with the band on a round stage set up in the middle of the arena. Jethro Tull released rabbits on stage (see here). One of ELP's many stage antics include Emerson's "flying piano" at the California Jam concert, in which a Steinway grand piano would be spun from a hoist. Pink Floyd used many stage effects, including crashing aeroplanes, a giant floating pig, massive projection screens, and, in 1980, an enormous mock brick wall for The Wall performances. Rush incorporated lasers and film backdrops into their stage show. Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention used a giant giraffe prop and did improvisational comedy skits. Marillion's former lead singer Fish wore a jester costume inspired by the band's first album, Script for a Jester's Tear.
 

Ron Party

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#2
The genres of progressive rock music:

One of the most defining characteristics of prog is the classification of bands and artists. There are various sub-genres of progressive rock (or "prog", as it is sometimes abbreviated). People can (and will) argue for hours about whether this or that band belongs in this or that sub-genre. This list below is just a simple outline of the characteristics of each sub-genre, and by NO means a strict guideline. Remember, this is not a definitive list.

SUB-GENRES

* Canterbury Scene
* Crossover Prog
* Eclectic Prog
* Experimental/Post Metal
* Heavy Prog
* Indo-Prog/Raga Rock
* Jazz Rock/Fusion
* Krautrock
* Neo-Prog
* Post Rock/Math rock
* Prog Folk
* Prog Related
* Progressive Electronic
* Progressive Metal
* Proto-Prog
* Psychedelic/Space Rock
* RIO/Avant-Prog
* Rock Progressivo Italiano
* Symphonic Prog
* Tech/Extreme Prog Metal
* Zeuhl
 
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Ron Party

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#3
Canterbury Scene

With many other types of English progressive music developing mostly in London, it may at first seem strange that the old pilgrimage centre and relatively quiet cathedral city of Canterbury, became the centre of this very English form of progressive music and jazz fusion. Originally the Wilde Flowers, a teenage band of members living in and around Canterbury, playing a mix of pop, R'n'B and band members with a developing love of jazz, was formed in the 60's and became the seedling from which the Canterbury Scene grew. Australian beatnik Daevid Allen during a long stop-over at Robert Wyatt's parent's home, a refuge for many left field artists, was to catalyse the evolution of the Wilde Flowers into the fledging Soft Machine and the development of some avant music during the English psychedelic and underground period. From 1963 to 1969, the Wilde Flowers included most of the figures who later formed Canterbury's two best known bands, (The) Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hugh Hopper) and Caravan (Pye Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Richard Coughlan).

Canterbury was then to be the cradle for several of the more freewheeling British bands of the post-psychedelic era. While fans would suggest this is the home of an English musical quirkiness tempered with quite a bit of whimsy, within the Canterbury Scene's musical spectrum any similarities between Canterbury's major bands, (e.g. Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Hatfield & the North, Egg, National Health), are not immediately obvious*. Most bands will be found employing a clever fusion of rock rhythms and jazz improvisation with intellectual song-writing and varying strengths of psychedelia - some would too include folk elements (e.g. Spirogyra), others blues (e.g. Carol Grimes and Delivery). In addition, a number of bands employed various elements from classical music, for instance those bands with Dave Stewart playing keyboards. Whilst there have been a handful of excellent and distinctly different guitarists to play with Canterbury bands (e.g. Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth, John Etheridge, Steve Hillage, Phil Miller), the lead instrument of choice has been keyboards. One English peculiarity of Canterbury is what the late John Peel called the 'School of Anti-song' because of particular Wyatt, Ayers and Richard Sinclair's approaches to vocals and perhaps the whimsy. More recently Richard Sinclair's vocal style has perhaps accurately been labelled as 'English jazz singing' by Jazzwise (i.e. singing jazz with an English rather than the usual American accent). In addition Canterbury musicians have experimented as avant garde, free jazz players, e.g. instance Elton Dean, Lol Coxhill, Steve Miller.

(*However, once you've heard some Canterbury bands the commonality becomes more obvious - chord sequencing e.g. Caveman Hughscore's electric piano opening on the tune 'More Than Nothing', the vocals, the lyrics etc.)

Both the Soft Machine and Caravan were popular in England's psychedelic/ underground scene before releasing their first albums in 1968, with Machine completing on level footing with Pink Floyd. However, by the early 70's a series of fragmenting changes of bands' line-ups, (Soft Machine went through about 30) and the subsequent formation of new bands, rapidly broadened Canterbury's range, with many newer musicians with only loose and in fact, no previous Canterbury connections. Early Soft Machine member Daevid Allen formed Gong in Paris. Both Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt left the Softs because of musical developments they did not like, to begin their own solo careers. By the mid-70's, most the old and new Canterbury bands had progressed away from psychedelia, developing their distinct forms of progressive rock some embracing jazz fusion, many playing extended jams with now limited lyrical input (e.g. Hatfield and The Norths, National Health, Gilgamesh). Caravan became more folky. However, as the 70's progressed several Canterbury bands would lose most of the rock element from their music. Gong retained their psychedelic side longest, but with the departure of Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage in the mid 70's, the band evolved into the percussion-oriented, jazz rock group Gong, which eventually became the modern day Gongzilla. Daevid Allen regained Gong's name in the 90's and through his solo work and with his University of Errors, is still evidently producing psychedelia. Steve Hillage's form of psychedelia evolved into the glissando rock of his own band and then into electronica, by the end of the 70's. In particular, Hillage through his work as a successful record producer of new bands from the 80's, develop his form of electronica through other bands. This music lost much of its complexity e.g. few riffs played over and over, rather than dozens per tune that previously had often typified prog, into a very popular form that is the antithesis of prog, i.e. the various forms of house music, with associated remixing/turntablism. For instance, Gong's "You" got the remix treatment in the 90's - but then to reflect his range of activities, Hillage has also produced and played guitar for Algerian Rai singer, Rachid Taha for over 20 years.

Many of Britain's better known avant-garde and fusion musicians of the 70's and 80's - including Fred Frith (Henry Cow), Allan Holdsworth (Gong, Soft Machine, UK, Bruford) and Peter Blegvad - were involved during their early careers playing in Canterbury bands. And still new musicians join the Canterbury Scene's ranks, Theo Travis being perhaps the most notable recently (Gong, The Soft Machine Legacy). The Canterbury scene was to have a major influence on musicians in Europe, especially France (e.g. Gong, Moving Gelatine Plates), the Netherlands (Super Sister)and Italy (Daedalus), and more belatedly in the USA (Hughscore). Caravan reformed in the mid 90's, while ex-members of Soft Machine could be found in various avant jazz and straight jazz fusion groups, e.g. Just Us, Soft Heap, Soft Works and most recently The Soft Machine Legacy. From the Canterbury Scene, RIO it its various forms has developed.
 

Ron Party

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#4
Crossover Prog

Crossover Prog contains progressive rock music that, though 100% progressive, may have a musical connection to popular music-- whether it be the lack of emphasis on extended compositions, or an influence from mainstream music in addition to classical, jazz and folk. Compositions, however, still exhibit a high degree of sophistication, sometimes outright complexity, and the musicianship and virtuosity is often on a par with established Prog acts. Much like their kin in the established prog sub-genres, these groups will incorporate many major parts of what defines prog rock: the fusing of rock with the structures and discipline of more traditional musics, the use of syntheisizers and new technologies, intelligent thematics, and the expansion of the form.

The defining characteristics of Crossover Prog are a pop music influence that is largely vacant in typical prog rock. Songs tend toward shorter, more concise presentations though still reach beyond the typical verse, bridge, chorus pattern. The harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic structures may be more easily digested in Crossover while not losing the musical integrity that a prog listener expects. Whereas Prog Related bands are generally commercial groups with certain prog elements or players that were involved in prog acts, Crossover Prog artists are predominantly progressive with elements of popular music.

The most representative examples for this genre include The MOODY BLUES, SUPERTRAMP, DREDG, CINEMA SHOW, RADIOHEAD.
 

Ron Party

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#5
Eclectic Prog

The term 'eclectic' in the context of progressive rock describes a summation of elements from various musical sources, and the influences and career paths of bands that take from a wide range of genres or styles. While progressive music can be, in a larger sense, eclectic, the 'Eclectic Prog' term is specially meant to reference bands that trespass the boundaries of established Progressive Rock genres or that blend many influences.

Eclectic Prog combines hybrids of style and diversity of theme, promoting many elements from different sources. The Eclectic category recognizes bands that evolved markedly over their career (in a progressive, evolutionary way), or have a plural style without a clear referential core.

The basic features lie within the music's variety, rich influences, art tendencies and classic prog rock elements. Among the representative bands are KING CRIMSON, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, and GENTLE GIANT.
 

Ron Party

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#6
Experimental/Post Metal

This group represents bands which belong to neither of the first two groups and achieve their progressiveness by being substantially more experimental and/or artistic than their peer ... including the whole movement of Post Metal.

Experimental Progressive Metal
Obviously this style is related to the style "Avant-Garde Progressive Metal" defined in the second group (Extreme/Tech Progressive Metal). The main difference is that the bands listed here are less technical/quirky and generally more calm/mellow than the Avant-Garde bands. Some are very close to Post Metal - an obvious example is MAUDLIN OF THE WELL who later turned into KAYO DOT who can be described as the Post Metal counterpart of SIGUR RÓS (Post Rock).

Art Metal
These bands all are more artistic than their peer. They're all experimental to a certain extent, but not as openly as the bands of the previous style. Some, but by no means all of them are sticking closer to traditional, non-prog forms of metal, but the level of sophistication in their music is much higher than that of their non-prog peer.

Post Metal
This style is the metal counterpart to the style of "Post Rock". One common definition of Post Rock is "Music which uses Rock instrumentation for Non-Rock purposes". This also applies to Post Metal: The heavily distorted guitars - which are a trademark of Metal - are often use for texturing/layering rather than riffing, creating calm and mellow music. This doesn't mean that there is no traditional riffing at all ... but even then it happens at a slow pace and is often interspersed with extended calm and mellow parts.

Post Sludge Metal
The first bands who successfully implemented the style originated in a genre called "Sludge Metal", which could also be called "Post Hardcore". Typically these bands feature extremely aggressive vocals (usually in the "growling" style) combined with extremely reduced and mellow music ... still the use of heavily distorted guitars and the slow and drawn out riffing known from "Stoner Metal" and/or "Drone Metal" make this a sub genre of Metal.

Eclectic Post Metal
Eventually other sub styles emerged ... some bands simply removed the vocals and thus the "Sludge" component (RED SPAROWES), others added Jazz elements (KAYO DOT, CALLISTO).
 

Ron Party

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#7
Heavy Prog

Heavy Prog defines progressive rock music that draws as much influence from hard rock as it does from classic progressive rock. In simple terms, it is a marriage of the guitar-based heavy blues of the late 1960s and 1970s - artists such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath - and the progressive/symphonic movement represented by King Crimson, Yes and Genesis.

The electric guitar, amplified to produce distortion (or 'overdrive') is a crucial element, providing the 'heavy' tone required for this aggressive style, and later for the British and North American heavy metal of the late 1970s and 80s. The primary rock format of drums, bass and guitar with keys and/or vocals on top is represented strongly in heavy prog. The presence of the Hammond organ with its deep, intense rumble was also common among harder progressive groups such as ATOMIC ROOSTER. Although certain other acts, such as King Crimson and Jethro Tull, utilize a heavy guitar, bass and keyboard sound, the bulk of their work over the years puts them in a different category.

Bands that represent Heavy Prog would include RUSH, PORCUPINE TREE, THE MARS VOLTA, URIAH HEEP, TEMPEST, BLACK WIDOW, DR. Z,ATOMIC ROOSTER, WARHORSE, BIRTH CONTROL, TILES.
 

Ron Party

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#8
Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

The private, metaphysical relations to oneself, to the other, the symbolism of existence are connected, transfigured by the particular expression of raga, classical India music. The emotion provided by this music is not only "affective". It's a real message, an aesthetic of the nature, of the divine, a virtue able to guide the listener to a state of emotional trance. In the mid-60's with the launch of international success of raga masters as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan.European and American artists will become more and more captivated by the dynamical relation between mystical emotion, spirituality and music. The emergence of Raga schools from everywhere (still perpetuating the ancestral musical traditions), the initiatic travels of Western minimalist-modern jazz composers (Terry Riley, Don Cherry...) to India will participate to a growing interest for this musical universe. The emphasis on repetitive circular rhythms, ornamentation (gamaka), the use of acoustic stringed patterns, the sense of beatific endurance and lenghty improvisation are the central characteristics of this music in term of practice and sound aesthetism. Emotionally, the function on the listener is hypnotic, voluntary trying to reach him into a higher state of consciousness, modulating his perception of time and space. The basic conception of "drone" (continuous sound form) will be taken back in popular music and turned into "kosmische" electronica (70's Berlin underground). After Seventh sons' first original but rather discreet effort simply called "raga" (1964) and Malachi's holy music (1966), famous bands as the Beatles in "Revolver" (1966) and Traffic in their album "Mr Fantasy" (1967) will be seduced by the sonorities of Indian raga music. They occasionally incorporate sitar elements to their music. Among the most notorious artists who participate to the original dialogue between proggy rock and Indian music we can notice many jazzy formed musicians influenced by "world" elements (the guitarists Volker Krieger, Steve Tibbetts, the clarinet player Tony Scott). They are often recognised to practice a fusion between jazz rock harmonies and raga's instrumentations (tabla, sitar.). Among them Collin Walcott and Alberto Marsicano were Ravi Shankar's pupils. The world of "raga" rock can also include psych folk / drone-y bands (Quintessance, Fit & Limo, Flute & Voice, GHQ, Pelt...) and which are largely impregnated by mysticism, sonic meditation and sitar.
 

Ron Party

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#9
Jazz Rock/Fusion


1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.
 

Ron Party

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#10
Krautrock

Krautrock (also called "Kosmische musik") is a German avant-garde / experimental rock movement that emerged at the end of the 1960's. It was intended to go beyond the eccentricities developed by the wild psychedelic rock universe of the US, by giving a special emphasis to electronic treatments, sound manipulation and minimal hypnotic motifs (continuing the style of "musique concrete" and minimalist repetitive music but within a more accessible environment).

Krautrock put the emphasis on extended and ecstatic instrumental epics, neglecting the format of conventional psych-pop songs. The term Krautrock was first used by the British music press in a very derogatory way. The term rapidly found a better reputation in underground music circles and finally gained a certain popularity (thanks to the Brain-Festival Essen...)

The Krautrock movement is widely associated with notorious bands such as Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Faust, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Guru Guru, etc. With their own particular artistic expression, these musical collectives provided rocking psychedelic incantations, mantra like drones, melancholic lugubrious atmospheres, long and convoluted collective improvisations, binary repetitive drum pulses, fuzz guitars, feedback, primitive electronic noises, hallucinatory ballads, and garage blues rock trips. Krautrock can be described as an anarchic, intense, acid, tellurian, nocturnal, spacey, dark and oniric "adventure" through rock music.

The most consistent years of the Krautrock scene cover a relatively short period from 1970 to 1975. After their first spontaneous, hyperactive and psychedelic efforts, the bands generally split up or declined into other musical sensibilities, more in line with mainstream rock or with ambient soundscapes.

Each region develops its particular musical scene, interpreting differently the Krautrock musical structure. For instance the Berlin school focused on "astral" synthscapes, weird electronic experimentation and acid jams (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Mythos, The Cosmic Jokers, Kluster...), The Munich scene offered fuzzed out (Eastern) psych rock mantras with some folk accents (Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Gila, Guru Guru, Witthuser & Westrupp...). Cologne and Dusseldorf underground scenes focused on happenings, political rock, electronics, pulsating rhythms and clean sounding Krautrock (Floh de Cologne, La Dusseldorf, Neu! Can...).

This musical cartography is correct in the absolute but naturally reveals some variations and exceptions. This intriguing and freak 'n' roll 1970's German scene enjoyed a rebirth in recent years thanks to a large number of reissues (of long lost classics) published by several independent labels (Spalax, Garden of Delights, Long Hair Music...) as a direct result of Krautrock's musical inspiration of modern post rock bands. There are actually some neo psychedelic rock bands who try to hold up Krautrock, and who notably find a major place to express themselves during the historical Burg Herzberg Festival in Germany.
 

Ron Party

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#11
Neo-Prog

Neo-Progressive rock (more commonly "Neo-Prog") is a subgenre of Progressive Rock that originally was used to describe artists strongly influenced by the classic symphonic prog bands that flourished during the 1970s. At the beginning of the neo-prog movement, the primary influence was early to mid-70's Genesis. Debate over when Neo-Prog actually came into being often takes place, with some asserting it began with Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear in 1983. Others contend it began with Twelfth Night at the dawn of the 80s, while some even suggest the popular symphonic prog band Genesis gave rise to Neo-Prog with their 1976 album, A Trick of the Tail.

If one analyses the progressive movement just before 1980, then some albums which heavily influenced the Neo-Prog movement easily come to mind: Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings, Genesis - Wind & Wuthering, Genesis - And Then There Were Three, Genesis - Seconds Out, Saga - Saga, all the Camel albums between Breathless and The Single Factor included, and some Eloy's albums, especially Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes.

This new form of progressive rock originated in the UK, and is most strongly associated with bands such as Marillion, Pendragon and IQ; and while theatrical stage antics were a part of the live performances of many artists exploring this subset of the progressive rock genre it's the musical elements that are key to the genre; typified by the use of atmospheric guitar and synth soloing with symphonic leanings, with a tendency towards floating synth layers and dreamy soloing. An additional trait is the use of modern synths rather than vintage analogue synths and keyboards. The main reasons for Neo-Progressive artists to be separated from the ones exploring Symphonic Prog in the first place are the above, as well as a heavier emphasis on song-form and melody than some of their earlier symphonic counterparts.

As time went by other artists appeared that also deviated from the norms created by the classic wave of progressive rock artists in the 70's. The late 70's had given the world punk music; the 80's gave the world new wave; and the 90's grunge. These, as well as other forms, had a tremendous amount of influence outside of the progressive rock realm. The advent of the modern synth also inspired artists like Tomita, Vangelis and Kitaro to explore dreamier musical works.

These and other forms of more or less newly made musical genres influenced artists exploring progressive rock as well. Although many artists did so within the framework of 70's progressive rock, more and more artists developed a sound and style so heavily influenced by these more recent musical developments that categorizing them within the existing subgenres of progressive rock became increasingly difficult.

While the Neo-Progressive genre initially consisted of artists exploring a modernized version of Symphonic Prog, these days artists coined as Neo-Progressive cover a multitude of musical expressions, where the common denominator is the inclusion - within a progressive rock framework - of musical elements developed just prior to and after 1980. The Neo-Progressive genre in it's refined form thus covers a vast musical territory, to some extent covering all existing subsets of progressive rock and also searching out towards genres as different as new age on one side and punk and metal on the other.
 

Ron Party

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#12
Post Rock/Math rock

POST-ROCK:

The term post-rock was coined by Simon Reynolds in issue 123 of The Wire (May 1994) to describe a sort of music "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbres and textures rather than riffs and powerchords."

Originally used to describe the music of such bands as Stereolab, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and Pram, it spread out to be frequently used for all sorts of jazz- and Krautrock-influenced, instrumental, electronica-added music made after 1994. Bands from the early 1990s such as Slint, or earlier, such as Talk Talk were influential on this genre. As with many musical genres, the term is arguably inadequate: it is used for the music of Tortoise as well as that of Mogwai, two bands who have very little in common besides the fact that their music is largely instrumental.

The aforementioned Tortoise was among the founders of the movement. After the second Tortoise LP Millions Now Living Will Never Die, the band became a post-rock icon. After Millions... many bands (e.g., Do Make Say Think) began to record, inspired by the "Tortoise-sound" and were often described as post-rock.

In the late nineties, Chicago, Illinois, became the home base of many different groups. John McEntire (of Tortoise) became an important producer for lots of them, as well as Jim O'Rourke (of Brice-Glace, Gastr del Sol and many more). Post-rock began to range from the slow, guitar-based ambience of Boxhead Ensemble to the up-tempo electronica of Stereolab.

Montreal, Quebec band Godspeed You Black Emperor! - later renamed 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' - brought a political element with anti-globalization movement leanings.

By the early 2000s, the term had started to fall out of favor, while the major artists kept on making high quality recordings. The wide range of styles covered by the term had robbed it of its usefulness almost from the moment it was coined.

Closely related to post-rock is the genre known as Math rock, characterized by more percussive timbres, and more dissonant harmonic gestures.

MATH ROCK:

Math Rock is a genre that emerged in the late 80's and that was influenced by both the intricacies of progressive and avant-garde rock - King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Henry Cow - and 20th century composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage. The music is characterized by complex structures, angular melodies and constant abrupt changes in tempo and time signature. The name Math Rock is a term that grew out of the Chicago scene and the artists working with engineer Steve Albini in an effort to describe the new style.

The basic building blocks of Math Rock can be traced back to the late 60's and 70's where Progressive Rock artists were making more elaborate compositions than the standard rock bands and were experimenting with song structures. Early Avant-garde groups like Massacre, and artists such as Captain Beefheart and John Zorn were highly influential to Math Rock bands and traces of their music can still be heard throughout the genre. Another big influence to the Math Rock approach was Slint with their album "Spiderland" which showcased many techniques that Math Rock bands will follow in the future. Punk also had significant impact on the sound of Math Rock bands. Other notable influences are: Post-Rock, Heavy Metal, and Jazz.

Although there are Math Rock bands in different countries around the world, most reside in the United States, the Midwest in particular, and tend to be divided by regions: Pittsburgh bands (Don Caballero, Six Horse) Chicago bands (Shellac, U.S. Maple), Ohio bands (Keelhaul, Craw) Louisville bands (June 44, Rodan, The For Carnation, Crain), and San Diego bands (Drive Like Jehu, Tristeza) among others on both coasts. Japan was also an important country in the Math Rock genre with bands like Ruins and Zeni Geva.
 

Ron Party

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#13
Prog Folk

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.
 

Ron Party

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Apr 30, 2010
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#14
Prog Related



No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture. A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
 

Ron Party

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#15
Progressive Electronic

Born in the late 60's after the expansion of avant-gardist, modern, post-modern and minimalist experimentation, the progressive electronic movement immediately guides us into a musical adventure around technologies and new possibilities for composition. As an author or a searcher, the musician often creates his own modules and electronic combinations, deciding his own artistic and musical action. The visionary works of Stockhausen, Subotnick, John Cage ("concrete" music, electro-acoustic experimentation), La Monte Young, Steve Reich, Terry Riley (minimal, micro-tonal music) express a vision of total reconstruction in the current musical world. Luminous works such as "A Rainbow in Curved Air" (1967) and "Silver Apples of the Moon" (1967) bring an inflexion on opened forms and new ways to explore the essence and the physical aspects of sounds (through time and space). "Static" textures, collages & long running sounds, the power of technology previously exposed in ambitious classical works will have a major impact in "popular" electronic music.

After the artisan & innovative uses of magnetic tapes, feedback, microphones, etc., the instrumental synthesis, the elaboration of global sound forms and the psycho-acoustic interactions will be sublimated thanks to the launch of the analog synth. A great improvement happened in 1964 with the appearance of the first modular synthesiser (Moog). This material (or "invention") brings the answer to the technological aspirations of many musicians, mainly after the release of the popular "Switched on Bach" (Walter Carlos) and Mother Mallard's portable masterpiece (pieces composed between 1970-73).

At the beginning of popular essays in electronica, the pioneering technologies (in term of recording and sound transmission) will not be abandoned. For instance, "Tone Float" (1969) by Organisation (pre-Kraftwerk), "Zwei Osterei" & "Klopzeichen" (1969-70) by Kluster and "Irrlicht" (1972) by Klaus Schulze will carry on the domestication of the electric energy and the use of refined harmoniums, organs and echo machines. During the 70's decade, European groups & musicians such as Eno, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream will make their name in the music industry thanks to an abundant use of analog synthesisers and original electronic combinations. After weird, mysterious experimentation on conventional acoustic & electric instruments, Kraftwerk enjoyed huge success in popular music thanks to "mechanical electronic pop music". "Trans Europe Express" (1977) and "The Man Machine" (1978) figure as two commercial classics. The German spacey electronic scene launched by Tangerine Dream with their outstanding "Alpha Centauri" (1971) and Cluster "I" & "II" (1971-72) will have echoes everywhere, starting from the Berlin underground electronic scene (the Berlin School) with Klaus Schulze ("Timewind" 1974), Michael Hoenig ("Departure from the Northern Wasteland" 1978), Ashra ("New Age of Earth" 1976), Conrad Schnitzler's buzz-drones and repetitive electronics ("Zug", "Blau", Gold" 1972-74) . After several innovations always from Germany we notice the dark, doomy atmospheric manifests of Nekropolis (Peter Frohmader) in "Le culte des Goules" (1981), Asmus Tietchens in his colourful and engaged "Biotop" (1981) and the semi-ambient "Hermeneutic Music" (1988) by Lars Troschen (sound sculptor and synthesist).

In France, the "hypnotic" and "propulsive" electronic essays of Heldon ("Electronic Guerrilla" 1974) and Lard Free ("Spiral Malax"1977) introduce an inclination for industrial, urban and post-modern sound projections. The French "avant gardist" Philippe Besombes takes back the inspiration of " concrete music" (Pierre Henry.) and mixes it to a hybrid rocking universe (published in 1973, "Libra" figures as a true classic). Bernard Xolotl in "Prophecy" (1981), "Procession" / "Last Wave" (1983), Zanov (Green Ray, 1976) and Didier Bocquet (Voyage cerebral, 1978) will follow the musical path anticipated by Klaus Schulze in his kosmische electronic symphonies.

At the end of the 70's until the debut of the 80's Albums as "ambient 1: Music for Airports" (Brian Eno), "Cluster & Eno", "Deluxe" (Hans Joachim Roedelius side project called Harmonia) will announce the emergence of the famous ambient movement, musically characterised by gorgeous shimmering atmospheric textures.

During the 80's, Maurizio Bianchi will be in search of the absolute industrial "post-nuclear" sound tapestry. His visionary musical experience is based on cyclical loops, abrasive concrete noises and vertiginous piano dreamscapes. ("Symphony for a Genocide" 1981 and recently the mesmerising "A.M.B Iehn Tale" 2005). Check also the revisited experiences of Italian industrial minimal dronescapings with new projects such as Mushy (Superfetazione, 2009), Peter M (Underworld Dreams, 2005) and Newclear Waves (split albums, 2009 and upcoming releases). Before M.B and the industrial-bruitist wave, the 70's Italian specialists of electronic experiments had been (among others) Francesco Cabiati (Mirage, 1979), Francesco Bucherri (Journey, 1979), and Francesco Messina for representative, lyrical and spacey orchestrations and also Futuro Antica (D'ai primitivi all'elettronica, 1980) or Telaio Magnetico (Live' 75) for tripped out minimalism.

In the early 1980s and after following the kosmische path of classic Klaus Schulze, The Bay Area / Los Angeles school of electronic created the so called "alchemical" / "Sacred" space music. The music offers a dynamic combination between ancient-traditional music of the West and synthesised sonic soundscapes. The most representative artists of this movement are Michael Stream (Lyra Sound Constellation, 1983) Robert Rich (Numena, 1987) and Steve Roach (Dreamtime Return, 1988).

Young contemporary bands and artists in electronic experimentation took their inspiration from the 70's "kosmische" analog synth psychedelica of Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream, etc. In the spaced out synthesisers spectrum, modern Japanese artists as Yamazaki Maso (noisy avant garde experimentor who contributes to the Kawabata's projects named Andromelos, Christina 23 onna and Father Moo & the Black sheeps) or Takushi Yamazaki (Space Machine) are key figures. The minimal, moody / lysergic epic soundscapes of Omit (Clinton Williams), Cloudland Canyon, Astral social club or Zombi also contribute to the renewal of the "cosmic" synth genre. Many modern electronic artists have taken an original musical direction, surfing on post-krautrock ambient waves (Aethenor), on spherical "abstract" ambient minimalism (Pete Namlook, Biosphere, Robert Henke) or on trancey, (post) industrial drone hypnosis (Alio Die / Amon / Nimh for the italian side and Andrew Chalk with his respective projects Mirror, Monos and Ora).

To sum up things, the progressive electronic subgenre is dedicated to intricate, moving, cerebral, intrusive electronic experiences that get involved in "kosmische", dark ambient, (post) industrial, droning, surreal or impressionist soundscapes territories.
 

Ron Party

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Apr 30, 2010
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#16
Progressive Metal

This category represents the core movement of what is called "Progressive Metal" in the literal sense. Throughout the years many new styles of progressive metal emerged more or less independently of the original Progressive Metal bands. Separating these styles from the core movement helps to prevent the definition of Prog Metal from "watering down".

Progressive Metal: The Early Years
Progressive Metal emerged in the second half of the 1980s. The first bands were essentially attempting to combine influences from classic prog rock of the 1970s (bands include YES, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON) and the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal - bands include DIAMOND HEAD, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST).

Classic Progressive (Proto-)Power Metal
These bands were staying close to a style which would eventually be evolve into "American Power Metal". This type of Power Metal is not to be confused with the European style which emerged with bands like HELLOWEEN a few years later and would lead to a second wave of Progressive (European) Power Metal bands in the late 1990s.

Classic (Eclectic) Progressive Metal
This style came to full bloom in the 1990s. The NWOBHM influence is still present in the music, but it's not the main ingredient anymore - in fact one of the trademarks of this style is that it draws from a broad range of influences which all seem equal in proportion. The resulting music is very diverse, making it difficult to describe or pin-point. But it's always melodic and often symphonic, and generally not too explicitly technical - although bands like DREAM THEATER are often accused of being too technical and virtuous there are many bands which take technicality to yet another level.

Progressive Metal: The 1990s
In the 1990s American Power Metal continually lost its dominance over the core movement of Progressive Metal. Instead eclecticism and melodic/symphonic elements became the dominant attributes. DREAM THEATER quickly established themselves as the most popular band of the genre, which also led to them becoming a reference in terms of style. Every new Progressive Metal band was compared to them, similarly to neo prog bands being compared to MARILLION, or new Prog Rock bands of the 1990s being compared to SPOCK'S BEARD.

Modern (Eclectic) Progressive Metal
These bands and albums represent the "heart" of Progressive Metal. They managed to refine their music compared to the beginnings in the 1980s, yet they managed to stay true to the style they had defined with their early albums - at least at the beginning of the 1990s. Of course there were fluctuations - some bands are more technical, some are more symphonic, some albums are more experimental, some are spacey ... but they all maintain a balance between the influences, and that's why they're listed here.

Modern Progressive Power Metal (American Style)
In a way these bands revived the music which had sparked the Progressive Metal movement in the 1980s. In the meantime the musical environment had changed a lot, for example neo-classical elements had been made popular by one Yngwie J. Malmsteen. This was influential for most Progressive Metal bands which were rooted in Power Metal.

The following bands can largely be attributed to American Power Metal, although some are borderline to the Eclectic/Mainstream Progressive Metal bands.

Modern Progressive Power Metal (European Style)
These bands have even more neoclassical elements, the most extreme example being RHAPSODY who can be called "Classical Metal", which doesn't qualify as being prog for many people. Nevertheless their music is quite demanding to play and contains many elements of serious classical composition and form, which is a strong indication of progressiveness. The following list of bands is quite diverse ... despite of them all being related to European Power Metal they really sound very, very different.
 

Ron Party

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Apr 30, 2010
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#17
Proto-Prog

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.
 

Ron Party

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Apr 30, 2010
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#18
Psychedelic/Space Rock

Psychedelic Progressive Rock

Progressive rock music has its roots in the mid 1960's psychedelic cultural phenomena. During that time the British Invasion and folk-rock bands began to expand the sonic possibilities of their music. These groups slowly started to abandon the concise verse-chorus-verse patterns of rock & roll, and moved towards fluid, free-form oriented song structures. Just as important was the incorporation of elements from Indian and Eastern music. Along them the principles of free-form jazz were included to the psychedelic sound, emphasising spontaneous emotions over calculated and estimated compositional constructions. Experimenting with new studio technology, electronically altering instruments and voices, was a part of this altered approach as well. Acid rock groups like THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE and CREAM stand as descriptive and popular examples of the path from psychedelic sunshine pop towards a more aggressive and distinct rock expression, in particular showcased in their improvised live performances.

Psychedelic progressive rock music may contain the elements previously described in varying combinations, but the artistic perspective of progressive rock is another factor. Some psychedelic rock bands stuck to the mid 1960's beat rock style in purist form, not partaking in the experimental development of the impressionistic possibilities of psychedelic rock music others spearheaded. The evolution of the psychedelic depth within a progressive context could be seen for instance in the 1960's recordings of ARCADIUM and BABY GRANDMOTHERS. One good example of early 70's Continental European progressive psychedelic rock is the album by AHORA MAZDA, and from Britain JADE WARRIOR's early efforts fuse psychedelic rock and ethnic music. Current artists exploring the vintage 60's/70's style and sound are acts like THE SPACIOUS MINDS and ACID MOTHER'S TEMPLE.

The entire Western pop culture scene was influenced by the psychedelic culture to some extent, including other prog genres such as Prog Folk. In Germany, artists influenced by the British psychedelic movement formed their own genre called KRAUTROCK. The pioneering early 70's bands in this genre represent the progressive acid rock sound of Germany, experimenting with long instrumental improvisations, emphasizing the use of psychedelic effects and weird electronic sounds. Some examples are artists like AMON DÜÜL, ASH RA TEMPEL, CAN, GÄA, NECRONOMICON and YATHA SIDHRA. The PROGRESSIVE ELECTRONIC style emerged from Krautrock. Some of the most influential artists of this genre, such as TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE, explored a distinct psychedelic musical style at first, which was influential for the development of the "space rock" sound:


Progressive Space Rock

The late 1960's psychedelic rock scene also spawned the birth of the space rock genre. The pioneering acts of this genre assimilated krautrock elements like repetitive hypnotic beats and electronic/ambient soundscapes as they moved away from the common musical and compositional approach. The synthesizer with its bubbling tones and spacey patterns, provoking a gliding flow, is a typical instrument of this genre. Guitars are by preference played with glissando technique and delay/echo effects are heavily used, and elements originating from reggae/dub are fairly common. Several bands combine their live performances with trippy lightshows using random fractals. Albums in this genre will often include at least one long meandering jam based on a main theme, where loops and wavelike fluctuations provides slight variations to this structural foundation.

Stories, images, song titles and album names referring to cosmic themes are fairly common features of the genre. HAWKWIND's live album "Space Ritual" is said to be the ultimate space rock album due to the collaboration with sci-fi author Michael Moorcock. His lyrics are performed by a narrator and underlaid with synth elements. PINK FLOYD can be regarded as pioneers of spacey music during the band's early phase, as exemplified by certain tracks from "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" or the stirring live performance of "Careful With That Axe Eugene" from "Ummagumma". GROBSCHNITT provides another fine example of classic space rock with their epic effort "Solar Music". Other bands explored the space rock sound for a limited time period only. GONG released groundbreaking albums in the genre at the start of their career, while British hard rock band UFO released the extraordinary album "Flying - One Hour Space Rock" as their sole contribution to the genre in 1971.

A space rock scene can be found in most countries sporting artists producing music with a western-oriented or influenced sound. Swedish bands are known for a brisk exchange of musicians among each other. The "Strange Daze" festivals from 1997-2000 showcased the American space rock scene. Japan is an inexhaustible reservoir of artists exploring both psychedelic progressivce rock and progressive space rock. Representative examples of the style are bands such as ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE with their focus on long grooving improvisations, QUARKSPACE and OZRIC TENTACLES with their stronger emphasis on electronic elements and VESPERO and HIDRIA SPACEFOLK with their inclusion of ethnic-originating musical components. Other groups like ESCAPADE and THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS represent an avantgarde approach to the genre, whereas the SUBARACHNOID SPACE and KINSKI are examples of artists that provide transitions to the post rock genre.


The boundaries of Psychedelic Progressive Rock connected with Stoner Rock and Acid Folk

The 1960's and 70's were a time of liberation, a time of rebellion against rigid rules and strict moral boundaries. In those "freedom of expression" days, an artist would typically herald their liberal attitudes as a mind-expanding trip on stage together with the audience in two ways. One was to realize audio/visually the visual and auditory hallucination as it was, and another was to play their repertoire spiritually and improvisationally under the trip. As for the latter approach, they devoted themselves solely to slow-to-mid tempo playing with low-tuned guitars in a heavy and expansive manner for playing steadily under this twilight condition. In the same time period, this approach to the musical trip was also taken on by some artists especially in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. This new style, drenched in heavy and downer psychedelia, was called "Stoner Rock". The name originates from the expression "stoned", referring to people in altered states of mind while under the influence of psychedelic substances. The Stoner Rock genre was universalized "as a strict musical style only" by the Industrial Grunge Rock genre that gained worldwide popularity in the early 1990s. The common denominator of all the artists mentioned is the representation of their personal cultural and political backgrounds, whilst playing slow-paced depressive songs with heavy guitars and echoic rumbling drums as the dominating features. Most of current outfits claiming to be the so-called Psychedelic Heavy Progressive Rock ones should be much influenced by the traditional Stoner or Grunge Rock as well as the early Psychedelic Progressive Rock. They can be considered as a borderline case between Psychedelic Progressive, Heavy Progressive, and Progressive Metal.

"Acid Folk" can be mentioned as another musical style with hallucinogenic approach. Psych Folk or Psychedelic Folk are other names for this genre, and is vaguely defined as a rock subgenre due to the mixture of folk rock and psychedelic rock. This is a style lacking in strict definitions, and it is contested whether or not the term was actually used at what is deemed the dawn of the genre. It's an undeniable fact that the Acid Folk scene gained some popularity by the efforts of artists in "The Folk Revivalism", but it's important to remember that there were two distinctly different approaches taken by those who helped shape the genre in the mid 1960's. Some folk singers approached a psychedelic rock structure as was popular at that time, while some psychedelic rock outfits tried to absorb and incorporate techniques and elements from folk rock. Both have great importance in the development of Acid Folk, and this may be the reason that strict definitions of the genre cannot be given. In view of the history, it's no exaggeration to claim that TYRANNOSAURUS REX, SYD BARRETT or THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND in UK rock scene seasoned the "traditional" Acid Folk with a more progressive spice. They, as eccentric or heretical rock outfits, accepted and incorporated Middle-Eastern and Oriental elements or instruments, and the result was the foundation for the current progressive Acid Folk movement. And in the Eastern parts of the world, different acid streams was provided by artists such as TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS or MAGICAL POWER MAKO who exerted a great influence on younger progressive bands. Their amazing achievements resides in the twilight zone between the Prog Folk and Psychedelic Prog subgenres.


A path that never ends

In addition of the styles described, psychedelic elements can be found in many other genres of progressive rock. The psychedelic cultural explosion had an immense influence on the western popular culture, and traces of it can still be heard also outside of progressive rock circles. The collective techno rave parties carry on the legacy of the audiovisual attack from the PINK FLOYD concerts in 1968, to cite one example. As the psychedelic movement was a large cultural phenomenon, it is difficult (and maybe unnecessary) to fence it to a clear category. Psychedelic progressive rock has been developing towards several different directions over time, and the task of classifying them as distinct genres and sub-genres is an ever ongoing process, often loaded with strong opinions.
 

Ron Party

WBF Founding Member
Apr 30, 2010
2,457
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Oakland, CA
#19
RIO/Avant-Prog

Rock in Opposition

What is Rock in Opposition?

Rock In Opposition - or RIO for short - is the name of a short lived movement that has gone on to define a genre of music, and which is now applied to musicians whose careers hadn't even started when the first RIO festival took place in London in 1978.

Festival

In the 1970s Henry Cow had, like other more left field bands, enjoyed greater popularity in mainland Europe than they did in the UK. They toured extensively and made contact with similarly inclined bands, most of whom were working independently and had no distribution or realistic opportunity of touring outside their native countries. The idea of Rock In Opposition was to create an independent network of like minded performers that would not be dependent on the largesse of major record companies for their survival.
 

Ron Party

WBF Founding Member
Apr 30, 2010
2,457
1
0
Oakland, CA
#20
Rock Progressivo Italiano

Italian symphonic prog is notable for the prominence of classical influences, often providing the driving force behind the music. The new listener will discover that this particular branch of RPI feels more like classical music in a rock setting as opposed to occasional classical influences on top of the rock format. Furthermore, the rich, diverse musical traditions of Italy permeate the albums, creating a strong national and even regional character. The "textbook" RPI groups can usually be identified by a pervasive sense of romantic melancholy and earthy flair, sometimes enhanced by baroque elements, sometimes by more ethnic ones. Other distinctive features include overt opera and operetta influences, wild and uncontrolled storytelling, and as a general rule, bold and highly emotional vocals. There is extroverted, operatic gallantry and panache or mellow balladry; exciting use of all sorts of keyboards, with sounds heard nowhere else but in this particular scene; exotic instruments such as aggeggi, ottavino, mandoloncello, clavicembalo- names that tickle the imagination and leave their distinct mark on the music. There is a uniquely magical marriage of the traditional to the modern, of the warm to the wild. The combination of flute, piano and violin is often encountered, and the interplay between the first two instruments in particular supplies the subgenre with a fair share of its identity and flavour.

Though the symphonic element is indeed the most common in RPI, the genre would be better characterized as eclectic. Jazz-fusion, folk, hard rock riffing à la Jethro Tull, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, intense drama a la Van der Graaf Generator (whose albums were revered in Italy), singer-songwriter, proto-metal, blues, avant tendencies, pop, psych, dark/occult, electronic-the list goes on. Even more amazing, these differences in style can often be found to varying degrees on one album, and still feel natural in the distinct stylistic framework mentioned above.

No overview of RPI would be complete without mentioning the use of the Italian language, by many considered one of the most musical languages in the world. It could be safely stated that the use of Italian is inherent to the soul of RPI, a critical component to the full appreciation of the subgenre. In fact, even if some key RPI albums were translated into English in an attempt to gain international recognition, most of them fail to impress. They feel as if one of the basic ingredients of what makes RPI such a successful concoction is missing. While most serious RPI fans consider Italian vocals essential to their listening experience, it is fair to say that some believe English lyrics are not so detrimental-even if in most cases the odd phrasing, incorrect emphasis, and heavy Italian accent of the singers detract significantly from an authentic overall effect. While some prog fans can find the gregarious Italian vocal style challenging at first, newbies are encouraged to simply stick with it for a while. With only a modest effort any RPI newbie will soon find they cannot imagine this music without traditional Italian vocals-they truly are the icing on the cake.

One common misconception that must be addressed is the belief that any prog band from Italy is an RPI band. There are bands from Italy more appropriate for other genres. As an example, a pure and obvious post-rock band who just happen to be from Rome are going to be in the post-rock sub, not RPI. A pure jazz-fusion band with no RPI characteristics to their sound could be easily placed in the Jazz/Fusion subgenre.
 

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