Monday, November 8, 2010

My Definition Of Progressive Rock Part 1

ahhhh Prog Rock

Part 1****

My fav music is Progressive Trance, Progressive Rock and Earth Wind & Fire...

I luv music that is full and can treat my ears with electronic wizardry.

To me Prog Rock is a genre of music that can be so easily classified incorrectly like Science Fiction.  Too many times I see movies such as Star Wars and Aliens classified as Science Fiction, when it really is something else.

Star Wars is a Space Opera and Aliens is an Action film, but more on this later.

I believe that Progressive Rock started in the early 1970s with the advent of Synthesizers.  This is an important distinction because Heavy Metal abandoned the Synth and Hip Hop & Dance abandoned the electric guitar!!!!

Prog Rock left the mainstream with the advent of the 80s (Heavy Metal took the Guitars and Rap/Pop took the Synth)

To me,  Prog Rock must included the studio engineering as part of the musical process. Also, the Musicians in Prog Rock are virtuoso's and provide tangents to the music outside of a 4/4 time beat and equal temperament tuning.

Even though Led Zeppelin is primarily a heavy rock band they flirted with Prog Rock (as a trend of the time). Stairway to Heaven and No Quarter (1971 & 1973) are two tracks that are most like Prog Rock from them.  John Paul Jones the wizard on Keys was primarily a bassist between 1968-1971. But what stops Led Zep from being a true Progressive Rock band is the lack of complex synthesis as heard with Pink Floyd & Tangerine Dream. John Paul Jones might have used a Mellotron and his organ, but just because he put a moog in the awful track The Crunge, from the 1973 Album, Houses of the Holy doesn't mean to me, that it is Prog Rock. Yes there were moments of Prog such as the electronic effects in "Whole Lotta Love" live, but overall  it is Heavy Rock (and very good in that genre).

There is a fine balance as engineering synthesizers is a different skill set to musicianship (Brian Eno anyone?). I also don't think much pop music today is fully utilising the Synthesizer or doing anything interesting. Yes there is more DSP processing and auto-tuning of vocals, but this is nothing like the impact of the electric guitar or Complex Analogue Synthesis as heard in the 1960s with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and Vangelis, Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd in the 1970s. Perhaps as there is no new instrument to come along since the 1970s, there is nothing left for the market to do???

So the core of a Prog Rock band must have this:

Bass Guitar should experiment with pedals and volume swells etc. 
Complex Programmable Synthesizers (Can be two players must have lots of synths and not be a musician that has a moog on top of his organ!! Also they should be good musicians too and not be just good programmers)
Electric Guitar ( 1,2 or more!!)
Drums  (Can be 2 and can also play an electronic drum kit for some tracks)

If you are interested in Prog Rock check these Albums out

Next part is more about what are the best Prog Rock Tracks****

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