December 09, 2012

A kaleidoscope note late 2012, is still on Progressive Rock Today and Yesterday

Is today's current incarnation of progressive rock similar or different from that of what we "old timers" who remember how it was in the sixties, seventies and eighties? I would daresay that many of us who grew up listening to the likes of King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Genesis, ELP, etc. consider that era to be the "Golden Age" of this genre. 

I would really be interested in hearing from some of my younger colleagues on the forum who are more conversant than myself with the latest offerings in this field as to their feelings vise verse how this era stacks up against the previously cited one, especially in terms of musical innovation, creating "concept albums", or whatever other criteria one might wish to use in making an assessment of this topic.

And I guess if one wishes to opine on which time period is "better" or "superior" to the other employing these criteria or others that would be really interesting as well. {Even better would be if the opinions could be buttressed by concrete examples and arguments.}.

Today progressively involves more technical virtuosity rather than the concept of composition and harmony. Former progressive bands in the present, the modern reincarnation, aren’t progressive-they are alternative.

In my opinion, after King Crimson, Yes... etc (and bands that you've counted) ensure the glory of that rock direction and after the label "progressive" at that time attracted a huge number of music lovers, began in the late eighties transition in subgenres of which is the only progressive metal had real value. Combination with other, generally more commercial directions did not give anything spectacular. Metallica, Queensryche, DT are great bands in the progressive period (metal), and showed how the concept of progressive music lives in nineties and today, but with a combination of extraordinary virtuosity. Progressive classical music is under pop & commercial assault (by me) disappears into the background and if we say that Muse is a progressive, then I conclude that what I say about alternative. It's not progressive; it's just flirting with progressive.

In my theory the musicians of yesterday's bands like Yes were more unique then modern progressive musicians. In the days of Yes the audience and the public opinion were not so after technical skills and they focused more on the overall result as a band, not so on the single musicianship. Now often the songs are a vehicle to show a circus of virtuosity. I guess, if Yes would be a newcomer-band, a guitarist like Steve Howe would be accused for his "limited" style. But his style is very unique, because of its limitations. Today’s musicians are forced not only to be a virtuoso. Especially in the genre of Progressive Rock they are also forced to handle all musical styles at ease. In an interview Steve Howe said once, that he wanted to play "like nobody else before". He was searching for a new language of the guitar. Today the impression is, that the musicians want to show, that they can recreate all styles and techniques and melt them into a song. DT in my opinion is melting Metallica, Yes, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I really dig DT, but are they unique like YES? I don't think so…

Commonly like our ages, The best music, progressive or otherwise was from the 60/70/80s. Cause that’s when we were young. No not just that but there were more apprentice served musicians. More opportunities for playing in clubs, pubs etc in the days when they did not need a license to play live music. More chances to hone your skills and find out what the people liked. You only have to look at groups like the Beatles to realize how relevant these factors were. I have recently re visited SHORT STORIES worth a listen by anyone. A mini masterpiece.

Many questions concerning the generation of the 70's music, such as a fan of Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, The Nice or ELP, etc. Are there any bands playing today that can equal those?

It all depends on what you're looking for. Are you looking for bands that sound like these bands or for progressive rock bands that are blazing their own trail?, and all back to your musical tastes, but now you need to know, reference that represents progressive rock music today, it is;

Porcupine Tree (Up The Downstairs, Dead wing, The Incident, Lightbulb Sun for a good representation of different phases of the band and maybe Coma Divine a good live album.

Transatlantic: A prog "supergroup" made up of members from Dream Theater (ex drummer Mike Portnoy actually), Spock's Beard (ex leader, now solo artist Neal Morse), Pete Trewavas of Marillion and Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings. They have put out three excellent albums over the years and some great live material too. I would also recommend any of the aforementioned bands, Spock's Beard, Marillion, Dream Theater (progressive metal) or The Flower Kings. Also:

§         Beardfish
§         Syzygy
§         The Pineapple Thief
§         Phideaux
§         echolyn
§         IQ
§         Jade Warrior
§         Karnataka
§         Magic Pie
§         Mystery
§         Opeth
§         Glass Hammer
§         Mostly Autumn
§         Riverside
§         Flying Color

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