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Thread: Bent Knee - best band from the US in a long while?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    It could be because it's 5 am and I just woke up, but this actually sounds incredibly interesting to me.
    What I'm trying to describe, though, is the same kind of electronic disco you hear on the pop stations. Or the kind of ambient music that comes from some guy dinking around on a laptop. Because, for a guy under twenty, those are likely to be the kinds of music he grew up with, so those are the kinds he gets "progressive" on. He's not going to use things like meter changes or adventurous chord progressions or extended tonality (other than superimposed samples) because he was never exposed to them, and they would just sound like mistakes and wrong notes to him. Most of his "progressiveness" will be on the production end - odd sound treatments, dubbed-out mixes, weird samples, and the like. But the underlying music's pretty straight. And thus, you or I might not hear the result as all that much more "progressive" than standard contemporary pop music.
    Last edited by Baribrotzer; 07-18-2015 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #52
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the fact they a Berklee Music Students have exposed them to much of the no-modern experimentation and informed their development as musicians?
    Ian

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  3. #53
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    What I'm trying to describe, though, is the same kind of electronic disco you hear on the pop stations. Or the kind of ambient music that comes from some guy dinking around on a laptop. Because, for a guy under twenty, those are likely to be the kinds of music he grew up with, so those are the kinds he gets "progressive" on. He's not going to use things like meter changes or adventurous chord progressions or extended tonality (other than superimposed samples) because he was never exposed to them, and they would just sound like mistakes and wrong notes to him. Most of his "progressiveness" will be on the production end - odd sound treatments, dubbed-out mixes, weird samples, and the like. But the underlying music's pretty straight. And thus, you or I might not hear the result as all that much more "progressive" than standard contemporary pop music.
    You can't have both?

    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    Wouldn't the fact they a Berklee Music Students have exposed them to much of the no-modern experimentation and informed their development as musicians?
    Yes. Berklee gets a bad rap. Music education doesn't brainwash you into sounding like Dream Theater or a 'robot' or anything of the sort, it just gives you tools. What you do with them is up to you.
    Last edited by zombywoof; 07-18-2015 at 12:24 PM.
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  4. #54
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    I have both of them ordered as well. This band should appeal to a very broad spectrum of the prog village.

    I would pay dearly to hear Courtney Swain, Moorea Dickason of MoeTar and Kyree Vibrant of Half Past Four trade phrases back & forth.
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  5. #55
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    I have both of them ordered as well. This band should appeal to a very broad spectrum of the prog village.
    I'm buying WAY too much lately, but I made an exception and bought their second album. Would be cool to see them 'on the field', no?
    Check out Colouratura's sophomore release Unfamiliar Skies - out this spring on Melodic Revolution Records!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    You can't have both?
    Both what? I'm not sure what you're referring to.



    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Yes. Berklee gets a bad rap. Music education doesn't brainwash you into sounding like Dream Theater or a 'robot' or anything of the sort, it just gives you tools. What you do with them is up to you.
    Very true. What you learn at Berklee is jazz theory, which is a sort of different dialect of classical theory, but you can still do a lot with it. It just tends to sound like jazz, and as you can hear, Bent Knee's music often does. Plus, almost all serious classical composers have extensive formal training - and look how innovative the good ones are.

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    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Both what? I'm not sure what you're referring to.
    Can't you have "things like meter changes or adventurous chord progressions or extended tonality" and "odd sound treatments, dubbed-out mixes, weird samples, and the like "? I get what you're saying, but I think you're being too black and white. Not all 'under 20 somethings' are culturally inept, much like not all 'experienced' composers are technologically inept. You sound like you're making a back handed compliment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Very true. What you learn at Berklee is jazz theory, which is a sort of different dialect of classical theory, but you can still do a lot with it. It just tends to sound like jazz, and as you can hear, Bent Knee's music often does. Plus, almost all serious classical composers have extensive formal training - and look how innovative the good ones are.
    It's all the ideas, man. The imagination. I've heard people with serious training make music that is boring as all get-out and amateurs make incredibly engaging compositions. And vice versa. Training is just tools, that's all.
    Check out Colouratura's sophomore release Unfamiliar Skies - out this spring on Melodic Revolution Records!

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  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    This band should appeal to a very broad spectrum of the prog village. [...] I would pay dearly to hear Courtney Swain, Moorea Dickason of MoeTar and Kyree Vibrant of Half Past Four trade phrases
    This was my point exactly. Never that bands like Bent Knee constitute the 'most original alternative out there' or anything, but that they (along with the two you mentioned plus not so many others) seem to possess that potion that'd make them fairly easy to digest with a wide spectrum of the otherwise admittedly disparate "prog" audience - which of course is actually audiences.
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  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    I have both of them ordered as well. This band should appeal to a very broad spectrum of the prog village.

    I would pay dearly to hear Courtney Swain, Moorea Dickason of MoeTar and Kyree Vibrant of Half Past Four trade phrases back & forth.
    I don't know Kyree Vibrant but was thinking the same thing about Moorea & Leslie Hunt of District 97 while listening to both of Bent Knees discs doing yard work this afternoon.
    Very impressed with this band!

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by sergio View Post
    woman should not play bass guitar that said I'm keen to check out the whole thing. Not big fan of female vocals, but she is impressive, yeah.
    Is there anything that women can do musically that you do like?

  11. #61
    So I looked up Half Past Four and Kyree.....checked out a bunch of samples and videos on their webpage and don't know how I missed them over the past 10 years. They are very good and I can definitely see/hear the comparison with Kyree to Courtney, Moorea, and Leslie - all four ladies are incredibly talented and sing with a touch of theatricality.

  12. #62
    Album nr. 2 arrived today and enjoying the first spin immensely.

  13. #63
    Member adap2it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gflorio View Post
    So I looked up Half Past Four and Kyree.....checked out a bunch of samples and videos on their webpage and don't know how I missed them over the past 10 years. They are very good and I can definitely see/hear the comparison with Kyree to Courtney, Moorea, and Leslie - all four ladies are incredibly talented and sing with a touch of theatricality.
    Kyree is a good friend of mine...Half Past Four played recently at my 75th birthday concert and were absolutely on fire! I love Bent Knee, Moetar, District 97...maybe for my 76th I'll have a Pussy Prog Concert with all four bands!
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    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adap2it View Post
    Kyree is a good friend of mine...Half Past Four played recently at my 75th birthday concert and were absolutely on fire! I love Bent Knee, Moetar, District 97...maybe for my 76th I'll have a Pussy Prog Concert with all four bands!


    Only the elderly get to be this politically incorrect (I should know).
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    Pardon the side track band here...

    Inner Ear Brigade - to me at least straddles the prog and rock fence really well. If you havent heard them you should give em a listen. I listen to them A TON right now. Catchy and creative - and just really great playing across the board - and singing that is strong... and I dont like singing much.

    https://innerearbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/rainbro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    Pardon the side track band here...

    Inner Ear Brigade - to me at least straddles the prog and rock fence really well. If you havent heard them you should give em a listen. I listen to them A TON right now. Catchy and creative - and just really great playing across the board - and singing that is strong... and I dont like singing much.

    https://innerearbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/rainbro
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  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    Pardon the side track band here...

    Inner Ear Brigade - to me at least straddles the prog and rock fence really well. If you havent heard them you should give em a listen. I listen to them A TON right now. Catchy and creative - and just really great playing across the board - and singing that is strong... and I dont like singing much.

    https://innerearbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/rainbro
    I have Rainbro too...and yes, they are worthy of inclusion to my 76th.
    Dave Sr.

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  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post


    Only the elderly get to be this politically incorrect (I should know).
    only the elderly...and me! I've always been this way.
    Dave Sr.

    I prefer Nature to Human Nature

  19. #69
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    This band is out of this world superlative exhaustingly wonderful. Just drove the long way home because I wanted to hear the rest of the album. I must now collect my brain and try to figure out what I just heard. Without actually sounding anything like them, they are the VdGG of this century, but better. Unbelievable. Thanks PE.
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  20. #70
    One of the things that most impresses me about the album is they've really mastered how to work with dynamics and tension. Being quiet and then being loud is an old thing, but the way they're able to string you along making things more and more tense before absolutely exploding is awesome.

  21. #71
    You guys convinced me to pick up the new one and for that I thank you!
    Enjoy the moment... It's the only way to fly!

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Can't you have "things like meter changes or adventurous chord progressions or extended tonality" and "odd sound treatments, dubbed-out mixes, weird samples, and the like "?
    Sure, you can. But it's tricky. Not too many do it, and I think there are reasons why.

    In practice, composition and production require different ways of thinking about the same task, and artists seem to concentrate upon one or the other: toward organizing and elaborating upon music in terms of notes, or toward doing so in terms of sounds. Or, in other words, toward a straightforward presentation of relatively elaborate* music, with few production effects, or toward giving variety to very simple music with an elaborate production. (And I should add that for the purpose of this discussion, I'm using "production" in the sense that you implied - as electronic effects applied after or during recording.)

    In the first case, writers often create and conceive of a piece of music as a finished composition before they record it - when it only exists as a live performance, or as the roughest of demos, or as sheet music. They could play it with just piano or guitar, and it would work. The recording may add to it, may add a lot, but the basics are there already. For examples, think of most rock or folk or country songs, or for that matter, jazz or classical music. And even when artists of that first type compose in the studio - the later work of the Beatles, or Close to the Edge come to mind - they tend to use it to document music they've already decided upon, although they may have made that decision then and there.

    In the second case, though, a piece tends to start as a recording - a very rough outline to be colored in. Typically simple and repetitious in the extreme, it can stand for and and often needs a lot of coloring in, and you can't distinguish in any meaningful way between composing it, recording it, and producing it. They're one and the same. In that production-centered approach, everything is grist for the post-modern mill, and one can actually gain points by how willing he is to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate what he's created, and by how much he does so. For examples, think of electronica, or a hip-hop backing track.

    Now an artist can take an approach in between those two poles, and some do - Flying Lotus, for example, the progressive hip-hop guy. But when you do that, you start running into a problem with clutter, with having more going on than the music needs or does well with. Perhaps far more going on. If a tune already has an interesting chord progression, or a substantial melody, or well-written lyrics, then adding more sound in the form of heavy electronic effects - which tend to be fairly noticeable and all-encompassing - can obscure its original point. (Incidentally, I heard that as a problem on the first Bent Knee album, where sometimes Courtney's voice or the drums almost disappeared into applied lo-fi scratchiness.) Whereas adding more notes, in the form of, say, orchestral or band arrangements, can be done far more precisely and selectively, has a long tradition you can work within or build upon, and can more easily enhance what's there without overwhelming it.

    Incidentally, about six or eight years ago, there was some discussion here of a guy whose name I forget. (I think it might have began with B, but that's all I recall.) He was from Montreal and quirky beyond quirky: He assembled very complex music on a laptop, yet I'm not sure if he could even play any conventional instruments; he was bilingual and bisexual and his lyrics switched between French or English and gay or straight right in the middle of a phrase. And his singing voice was, to put it mildly, an acquired taste. The result was fascinating stuff, but more than a bit of a mess, and I never quite understood exactly what he was trying to accomplish.

    - JH

    *(relatively elaborate is, um, a relative term: I'm using it to denote music with functional harmony, in which the harmonic changes have a sense of tension and release, and underline a change in feel. It includes much straightforward songwriting, and even many three-chord folk and country songs. As distinct from vamp-based music, where the changes don't have that effect or function.)

  23. #73
    music from younger artists works off different bases - different enough that you or I might not recognize it as progressive. For example, younger, forward-looking guys might see the "band" format as passe: old-fashioned, no longer necessary, logistically awkward, inefficient, and something to bother with only for intentionally retro music. Instead, they see no problem in working with loops and samples off a laptop. But working that way pushes you toward different musical choices - you tend to use a lot of repeating vamps, ring changes on the vocal melody and backing textures over them, and build whole songs off one loop.
    This is what so few understand. A loop, a drum machine, a sample etc.. DOESN'T have the ability to LISTEN. It can't listen to the other musicians in a natural human way. This creates a disconnect between the entire history of musical performance that has been developing for 1000's of years. If I change the dynamic or nudge the tempo etc, the loop doesn't listen. It can't and it's unnatural to the ear. I know a lot of people do this and like this, but a lot of people do and like a lot of things that ultimately are not either good for them or holding to the highest pursuit of human excellence.

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    This is what so few understand. A loop, a drum machine, a sample etc.. DOESN'T have the ability to LISTEN.
    Although, to argue against myself for a moment, neither does the backing track to an overdub. So unless you record everything live in full-length takes, like a jazz band, there'll be some interaction missing from your recordings. Now typically, that's seen as part of a trade-off - what you lose in interaction, you make up in precision, in the ability to get the best vocal, the best solo, the tightest rhythm track, and few or no clams. But you are losing the way a band can react to a vocalist, or how the rhythm section can react to a soloing player. Of course, all of this has to do with making records, which isn't the same thing as playing live.

    And when it comes to playing live with prerecorded or mechanized parts, I absolutely agree with you. Something important gets lost. Even with James Taylor's drum machine, or Metheny's Orchestrion, or Captured by Robots, where the mechanical nature is the whole point of it.

  25. #75
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I suspect that a lot of "progressive" music from younger artists works off different bases - different enough that you or I might not recognize it as progressive. For example, younger, forward-looking guys might see the "band" format as passe: old-fashioned, no longer necessary, logistically awkward, inefficient, and something to bother with only for intentionally retro music. Instead, they see no problem in working with loops and samples off a laptop. But working that way pushes you toward different musical choices - you tend to use a lot of repeating vamps, ring changes on the vocal melody and backing textures over them, and build whole songs off one loop. And you tend to go for changing harmonic color without definite harmonic motion, and not change keys. And so forth and so on.
    Right on. A few years ago I saw a singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt as an opening act for a respected alt-grunge ensemble. The guy appeared alone, equipped with guitar, keyboard and a few electronic devices and gave such a sublime instrumentally progressive musically complex performance (thanks to his exquisite looping skills) that I had no choice but to leave the building after the main act entered the stage and spewed their plodding painfully square heavy rock fare. It seemed like a James Bond's nanotech weapon confronted with a medieval catapult.

    And this Bent Knee is seriously good. They remind quite a bit my beloved singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, both in arrangements and highly eclectic style, although Andrew seems to be more into improvising live (vide his excellent Fingerlings live series).

    A pity Band Knees' only live outing Live & Nearly Unplugged is available only in the digital format - I would grab it on CD in a nanosecond.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 07-26-2015 at 06:45 AM.

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