'In our way, Johnson strongly expressed his love of driving fast in a post-chaise. "If (said he) I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman;"' Boswell's Life of Johnson.
I am a huge prog fan. Been so since about '73.
My listening these days is about 40% prog, 35% classical, and about 25% jazz and fusion.
I pretty much like all subgenres of progressive music, but my favorite has to be avant-prog.
Bands like: Henry Cow, Thinking Plague, Aranis, Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, and many others. It was listening to bands like these that got me into classical, since their main influences are mid 20th century classical composers.
Magma is another band that is high on my list. They created a genre of their own. I just saw them live here in LA about 2 weeks ago! What a phenomenal performance! it took me hours to pick my jaw off the floor.
I still listen to the classics from the 1st golden age of Prog from time to time. Genesis, YES, King Crimson, National Health, Camel, Gentle Giant, VDGG, etc. No matter how much I've heard them, some of their melodies, musicianship and innovation hold up extremely well.
Much of the prog of the 70's from the rest of Europe, besides Great Britain, is equal too the better known British bands. PFM, Banco, Arti e Mestieri, Le Orme, Area, Il Balletto Di Bronzo, Picchio dal Pozzo, and other Italian bands. Germany, France and Spain also had their share of top quality bands.
After a decade and a half long drought, beginning in the mid 90's, a 2nd golden age started, and has been going pretty strong continuously since.
The earliest 90's band that really made an impact, was Anglagard from Sweden. Sure, they were influenced by some 70's bands (KC, Gentle Giant, SFF), but they did such a good job of making those influences their own, it all sounded fresh. And live, they were extremely impressive, playing some quite complex music, effortlessly.
Other standouts from the 90's to the present are/were:
Deus ex Machina from Italy, After Crying from hungary, Kenso fro Japan, Akinaton Retard from Chile, Thinking Plague from the US, NeBeLNeST from France, DFA from Italy, Höyry-Kone from Finland, and many more.
The above are all pretty unique, and not very derivative of the 70's bands.
But to be honest, I really don't mind bands that show their influences, as long as they are writing great melodies, performing them well, and making an attempt at putting their own signature on them.
For example, Underground Railroad from the US, had some definite Genesis influences, but added some avant garde touches, fusion guitar, and tweaked it enough to make it pretty unique.
I also am a big fan or prog-metal. Prog-metal has come a long way since Dream Theater. Don't make the mistake of thinking that all (or even a major fraction) of prog-metal is as shallow and pretentious as DT. That would be like thinking that all prog is pretentious as ELP, just because they were the most public face of prog for many people.
There are many prog-metal bands with some real depth to their music, as well as their lyrics.
Speaking of lyrics. While I understand that many think that prog lyrics can be trite and pretentious, that was never a big deterrent for me. I can just listen to the vocal melodies and what they add to the music, without paying much attention to the words. For me, good lyrics can definitely be a positive, bad lyrics do not detract from the music. Hell, I have a huge prog collection sung in foreign languages that I don't understand. Not understanding them detracts zero from the music, for me.
Last edited by Simon Moon; Apr-08-2016 at 01:27.
And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell
Geez, nobody likes Zevious? You guys amaze me.
I listen to more jazz and ECM stuff than prog. I don't listen to much rock music anymore. But for the past 20-30 years, Zappa and Mike Keneally have my favorites as far as rock goes. I own just about every release of their's, which is a lot of music.
I got into the avant rock thing for a little while but I lost interest. A band like Thinking Plague is unique, and they are extremely talented musicians, but that music doesn't make me feel good. It seems so gloomy and ultra serious.
I enjoy the Canterbury stuff a lot more. Soft Machine, National Health, Kevin Ayers, Hatfield and the North, and several of Hugh Hoppers solo releases.
As far as more current stuff, I love Helmet Of Gnats, but they don't release many albums, so I've burned out on the last couple. But they make great sounding records, and their compositions are superb! And their guitarist Chris Fox is as good as anybody I've ever listened to.
Thanks Simon for your extensive post on 2nd generation progrock. I thought progrock was dead, at least that it had no living children in some sort of health. Glad to hear it survived.
Difficulty with extensive posting (and knowledge) of course is that at the receiving end you don't know where to begin when you lack the knowledge. So I'm soliciting for personal advice. What I like in first generation progrock and what I don't like that much I've listed below. Maybe you could advice me on two or three children of progrock I need to pay a visit?
What I like
Pere Ubu/David Thomas & the bla bla bla (if you want to count them in)
(and of course Zappa, but he's in another league all together, as is Beefheart)
What I don't care for that much or sometimes even hate
Gentle Giant (don't know them that well to be honest)
UK (although I'm in doubt)
I would also be interested if the division I make makes any sense to anyone else? If so we might organize different churches to prevent getting mixed up, ha ha.
I don't know if Traffic qualifies as prog rock? But I like Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. I think it's a great album.
Camel I never really warmed up to. I have their Live Record album, and many of the compositions don't feel very strong to me.
I rarely ever listen to Supertramp. But they wrote some good songs.
I have a bunch of Genesis albums, but I only get in the mood for them once a year or so.
I never listen to UK, but I'm a great admirer of Bruford and Holdsworth.
Overall, I'm more a fan of your preferred list of bands. But as I said, maybe once or twice a year.
I'm an old fart, so I prefer quiet music. You know, that wimpy ECM stuff. I'm into Egberto Gismonti, Ralph Towner, John abercrombie, and Eberhard Weber. And I like the old Pat Metheny stuff, and John Scofield.
If I have to think of my favorite prog tunes he's there even when he's just doing the second voice for someone else.
With Michael Mantler (and Carla Bley, Terje Rypdal, Jack de Johnette and Steve Swallow)
With Kevin Ayers (and Mike Oldfied playing one of the most enchanting guitar parts I've ever heard in a rock tune)
What time is the next swan?
These two likes suggest (if you've not heard them) Thinking Plague. They are not derivative and are "serious" but all their albums are very creative endeavours I would say.
And not to bang on, but I really do think you might like Gosta Berlings Saga. They're a bit more jazzy groovesome but still in the overall tag of "prog rock."
I need to check out one or two of Simon Moon's contemporary name checks...