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Thread: Can Prog Fusion Make a Comeback?

  1. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Sometimes, I think the reality is: small piece of a small pie. Or, bake your own pie!

    For us, the primary value of a label would be promotion. We can afford to manufacture our own product, and services like CDBaby handle the distro really nicely. But, promotion is still a challenge. So, that's less of a full label deal and more like a licensing kind of thing.

    IMHO a band like Bent Knee has done very well, with Cuneiform. New album release followed by a pretty impressive series of shows, culminating in an opening slot on the Dillinger Escape Plan farewell tour (I caught one of their shows, and Bent Knee went down fantastically well).

    Just random thoughts...
    I respect any band that piles in a van and hits the road. It's not the easy way, it's not the safe way, and it's not a glamorous life. It's tough on the mind and the body.

    The biggest issue of self promotion is the time expenditure required to get tangible results. Even if you have the time, that is going to take away time from your music one way or another....practicing, writing etc.

    Musicians today have to embrace the DIY model to make progess. I think it's just having to wear way too many hats. You can learn all the stuff but it's more than hard to truly excel at all the thing needed. Write your own great material, lyrics, perform in the studio, record yourself, be your own sound engineer, mixer, mastering, promote yourself, book gigs, deal with press, marketing, publicity, arrange PR, deal with finances, all the computer skills, band drama...social media etc... then you have to deal with your own life and all that is going on there.. temp work, part time jobs...financial stress and worries... It's really ominous.

    What happens is you get some bands or artists that can manage some of these things to some degree, but the end product is not nearly as good as it could have been had they had a proper team working with them taking care of most all the other stuff so they can spend their energy and focus on what is really important.

  2. #102
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    if you have the time, that is going to take away time from your music one way or another....practicing, writing etc.

    Musicians today have to embrace the DIY model to make progess. I think it's just having to wear way too many hats. You can learn all the stuff but it's more than hard to truly excel at all the thing needed. Write your own great material, lyrics, perform in the studio, record yourself, be your own sound engineer, mixer, mastering, promote yourself, book gigs, deal with press, marketing, publicity, arrange PR, deal with finances, all the computer skills, band drama...social media etc... then you have to deal with your own life and all that is going on there.. temp work, part time jobs...financial stress and worries... It's really ominous.
    And you don't see how what you are saying above has anything to do with the use of computers in recording and performance?
    Steve F.

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    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  3. #103
    ^ Steve, are you trying to imply that rock groups of today somehow have ceased to live communally, socialize on sparetime after lengthy days solely playing rock music either in the 8/16-track analog studio or on a local stage or in rehearsal or just for fun in the basement, travel by tourbus or jet airliners to distant lands, visit regional branches of the record company offices and no longer give meticulously planned press conferences?





    [BTW, before writing this on my computer I was sure to say the words out loud in the room donning analog timbre]
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  4. #104
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post

    [BTW, before writing this on my computer I was sure to say the words out loud in the room donning analog timbre]
    Thank you for doing that. I can always tell when people don't do that as it never reads authentically.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    What happens is you get some bands or artists that can manage some of these things to some degree, but the end product is not nearly as good as it could have been had they had a proper team working with them taking care of most all the other stuff so they can spend their energy and focus on what is really important.
    I'm not going to say this correctly so apologies in advance...

    In this era, IMHO labels have shifted from a team of providers to something more akin to partners. Bands who wish to work with labels need to be prepared to share in some of the burdens that previously, might've been only the purview of a label (like recording, booking, promotion...or even just an advance, all of which would probably be recouped against future royalties). I do absolutely believe that some of the smaller labels can/would offer the sort of proper team you describe, but they have a very finite set of resources and there are a damned near infinite flow of bands competing for those resources/opportunities.

    The best, most successful bands, are going to be those that can rise to that challenge. They have the right mix of skills (both artistic and business/marketing) to complement what a label can offer and you get a synergy as a result. In an ideal world, just having a creative flair might be enough but...honestly, I don't think that even in the 70's that was enough.

    I don't think many bands nowadays are up to that challenge (we certainly aren't). They may have exceptional creative talent, but that isn't enough. On the flip side, ironically I've seen some (IMHO) mediocre bands really take off simply because they were far better at the hustling than other more-creative, less-business savvy bands.

    And for those less savvy bands...resources like Bandcamp still provide them an opportunity to be heard. Yes, sans a major promotional push that audience is unlikely to be terribly large...but then it's circular: want a bigger audience, learn to be a more well-rounded artist. Otherwise, embrace whatever sliver of the pie you can manage and focus on the positives rather than what could've been.

    All very much IMHO.
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  6. #106
    And just for saying...I do not see advances in technology as the enemy of the modern artist. The ability to record and produce a professional-quality* recording themselves is crucial, even for those artists who seek to partner with a label.


    * - yes, the idea of "professional quality" is highly subjective. But I've heard "home" recordings from bands that rivaled some of the stuff that lands on the majors.
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  7. #107
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    And just for saying...I do not see advances in technology as the enemy of the modern artist. The ability to record and produce a professional-quality* recording themselves is crucial, even for those artists who seek to partner with a label.
    [/I]
    This is still a subjective thing to some degree? There are a lot of ways to approach a recording. Click tracks and quantization? Recording direct then using or pulling from endless sound banks of filters, plugins etc. Do you use autotune, pitch shifters, how much copy and pasting etc? It's easy to spend weeks if not months on a track staring at a computer screen visually looking at sound files. It can take a long time to really master that kind of approach. Then again, why do all these programs have analog modeling filters, the Blue tube etc... isn't it still going to be an approximation?

    The best, most successful bands, are going to be those that can rise to that challenge. They have the right mix of skills (both artistic and business/marketing) to complement what a label can offer and you get a synergy as a result.
    Since this is a jazz fusion thread, let's take Mahavishnu Orchestra. Certainly a unique band of great players at every position. Great live performances, they toured and were quite successful. If Johnny Mac and co were to exist today, is there a chance they would not ever be heard of if none of the guys in the band knew how to turn on a computer? Given Miles certainly helped JM gain exposure, but who is the Miles of today? Could Miles have happened if he had to know how to master pro tools and create his own internet site or social media exposure?

    Point being that there are only so many hours in a day. I would think that a band today would need to spend at least 2 hours a day or more tapping a computer keyboard. While that might not seem like a lot, that's still 14 hours a week. What if those 14 hours a week were instead practicing or working on composing new material? Or just sitting by a lake meditating or whatever it takes the artist to get into the zone. Why should it be required that a musician have great computer skills? It really has nothing to do with music. I say this because there was a lot of great music made before anyone had ever heard of or seen a laptop.

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    Thank you for doing that. I can always tell when people don't do that as it never reads authentically.
    If a master painting were digitally scanned then placed side by side to the original (authentic), how far back would you have to stand before you could not tell which one was the original and which one was the copy? 30 feet? 50?
    Last edited by Skullhead; 01-20-2017 at 02:34 PM.

  9. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    And you don't see how what you are saying above has anything to do with the use of computers in recording and performance?
    Not recording and certainly not performance. Why would I need a computer on stage? I would not need a computer in the studio if I had a quality tape machine and a well rehearsed band ready to start tracking.

    Now to promote your gig with emails, social media all that stuff, isn't that really working more like a lightspeed post office or telephone, fax etc. I see those applications as beneficial.

    Steve, in all seriousness, don't you miss record store culture?

  10. #110
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post

    Steve, in all seriousness, don't you miss record store culture?
    Of course I do.

    That won't bring it back and all your talking and 'skull-headedness' won't bring it back either.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    This is still a subjective thing to some degree? There are a lot of ways to approach a recording. Click tracks and quantization? Recording direct then using or pulling from endless sound banks of filters, plugins etc. Do you use autotune, pitch shifters, how much copy and pasting etc? It's easy to spend weeks if not months on a track staring at a computer screen visually looking at sound files. It can take a long time to really master that kind of approach. Then again, why do all these programs have analog modeling filters, the Blue tube etc... isn't it still going to be an approximation?



    Since this is a jazz fusion thread, let's take Mahavishnu Orchestra. Certainly a unique band of great players at every position. Great live performances, they toured and were quite successful. If Johnny Mac and co were to exist today, is there a chance they would not ever be heard of if none of the guys in the band knew how to turn on a computer? Given Miles certainly helped JM gain exposure, but who is the Miles of today? Could Miles have happened if he had to know how to master pro tools and create his own internet site or social media exposure?

    Point being that there are only so many hours in a day. I would think that a band today would need to spend at least 2 hours a day or more tapping a computer keyboard. While that might not seem like a lot, that's still 14 hours a week. What if those 14 hours a week were instead practicing or working on composing new material? Or just sitting by a lake meditating or whatever it takes the artist to get into the zone. Why should it be required that a musician have great computer skills? It really has nothing to do with music. I say this because there was a lot of great music made before anyone had ever heard of or seen a laptop.
    A lot of points to make, so apologies if I jump around and/or just spread thoughts across multiple replies...

    I'd argue that whether a band had the ability to record themselves or work in a studio...if a band is clueless then it was gonna be crap no matter what. I'm reminded of the (I think famous) bootleg recording made during a
    Troggs' recording session where the producer was basically cursing out the band for being completely inept. Also the phrase, "you can't polish a turd."

    It is certainly possible to quantize and autotune a recording to death. I'm sure a quick scan of YouTube could find plenty of examples of that. But the computer is just a tool; in the wrong hands it's a mess but in the right hands it's a useful device. Two years ago I attended a panel at Big Ears between Max Richter, Tyondai Braxton, Ben Frost and a fourth player whose lovely Icelandic name I would butcher. They talked greatly about the change in how they engage the computer with regards to recording/creating...the computer becomes akin to a tape machine where it captures performances rather than forces them into quantized structures.

    This is also how we approach recordings...our last album didn't even use click tracks. We captured the sound of ourselves performing in our space. Yes, there were overdubs on some of the instruments and various effects, mix tricks during production...but these weren't to change or "fix" parts, rather to simply capture the best versions possible. The rough edges were part of the quality of those songs and we had no interest or intention to try and sterilize them away. The end result was an album that felt organic and very much "us." Minor aside, we actually sent our album to Simon Heyworth (yes, him from the Manor and so on) to master and he took the time to call us and tell us how terrific the recording sounded. Given his extensive work on so many epic works, those words really had us so happy/proud.

    If the Mahavishnu Orchestra were to come into existence today, I greatly suspect they'd adopt a similar approach to capturing their essence. It wouldn't be about mechanical perfection but as accurately as possible capturing a performance. They might even adopt for a fully-live approach, similar to what Dawn of MIDI did on their incredible Dysnomia album.

    Other styles have different interests...motorik Krautrock, IDM, synthwave...for these, quantization is going to be more common, acceptable even. And for fans of that music, that's okay. I like some of that myself; it is a completely different creature than a band like MO, but there is still quality to be found and there's ample room for both to be appreciated.

    So no...for me, the technology is a benefit. The reality that it could also be abused is there, but it was always there. There's also ample opportunity to do some amazing work with it in a variety of different ways.
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  12. #112
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    Maybe you could post a few example videos











    heh heh heh

  13. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Of course I do.

    That won't bring it back and all your talking and 'skull-headedness' won't bring it back either.

    For me vinyl, reel to reels, live music never left. It's left for you and most everyone else... I get that.

    I still support the few vinyl record shops that are hanging around. Interesting to see certain albums really going up in value.
    I don't see that happening with their CD counterparts. I think that speaks volumes really. Digital is a virtual approximation that can
    be transferred over the web in a carbon copy manner. That will never hold value long term. A vinyl record is a tangible artifact of an event
    that is not virtual.... plus they sound better if presented properly and cared for.

    Reel to Reel tapes are really skyrocketing in price... even more than vinyl... so I think my dollars are better spent there even at a base economic level.

    It's not completely gone....

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    (...)

    It's not completely gone....
    Re the present day proggy fusion and related genres, great LPs & the gigs, etc., nothing is really gone, but everything has changed since that "golden era" when we were the kids.
    Nowadays, everything still exist what existed in the 70s, but everything has changed to the extent that even a comparision with the 70s [or 80s; 90s were that transitioanal decade actually, not the 80s as some of us think] is a nonsense (imo).
    Last edited by Svetonio; 01-22-2017 at 02:01 AM.

  15. #115
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    I think it is a matter of just finding great music, and depending on where you live, the venues and performers. I don't go in with any preconceived notions, just try to check out bands and see if it appeals to me (no specific genres). I think the jam scene could provide you with some outlets into jazz fusion, maybe not pure, but some bands have really good chops and play interesting music. I really like Tauk/Umphrey's as an example, but I am not sure exactly what you are looking for.

    Someone posted Marbin, I really dig those guys. I follow them on facebook and the guitarist is always posting stuff. For me, it is getting exposed to these acts, and trying to catch them when they pass through, and trying to find local bands that go beyond the classic/modern rock approach. I've been sampling various streaming apps just to get exposed to new bands, listen to them, and support them through purchasing music and seeing them live. I am really starting to love the streaming options, and I do buy the music of bands whose music connects with me.

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by eporter66 View Post
    I think it is a matter of just finding great music, and depending on where you live, the venues and performers. I don't go in with any preconceived notions, just try to check out bands and see if it appeals to me (no specific genres). I think the jam scene could provide you with some outlets into jazz fusion, maybe not pure, but some bands have really good chops and play interesting music. I really like Tauk/Umphrey's as an example, but I am not sure exactly what you are looking for.

    Someone posted Marbin, I really dig those guys. I follow them on facebook and the guitarist is always posting stuff. For me, it is getting exposed to these acts, and trying to catch them when they pass through, and trying to find local bands that go beyond the classic/modern rock approach. I've been sampling various streaming apps just to get exposed to new bands, listen to them, and support them through purchasing music and seeing them live. I am really starting to love the streaming options, and I do buy the music of bands whose music connects with me.

    This was something like my first thought when I saw the title of this thread - the kind of prog fusion the OP describes hasn't ever really gone away, it's just migrated to the jamband scene, where it appears to be undergoing something of a remarkable renaissance (in the US at least). Certainly bands such as Umphrey's McGee, The Breakfast, Phish (at times), and even a band like The Aristocrats exhibit pretty much all of the qualities the OP expresses a desire for. If not already looked into, maybe they would be worth checking out.

  17. #117
    Member adap2it's Avatar
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    FORQ newest release from 2017 is on my best of list for sure. They are touring the US soon and I'm planning on seeing them in Jacksonville FL. on Feb 13. Here are the tour dates..
    February 11, 2018 GroundUP Music Fest Miami Beach, Florida GET TICKETS
    February 12, 2018 Crowbar Tampa, Florida GET TICKETS
    February 13, 2018 1904 Music Hall Jacksonville, Florida GET TICKETS
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    February 15, 2018 Songbirds Guitar Museum Chattanooga, Tennessee GET TICKETS
    February 16, 2018 Marathon Nashville, Tennessee GET TICKETS
    February 17, 2018 Jazz Kitchen Indianapolis, Indiana GET TICKETS
    February 18, 2018 Reggie's Live Chicago, Illinois GET TICKETS
    February 19, 2018 Otus Supply Ferndale, Michigan GET TICKETS
    February 20, 2018 The Rex Toronto, Ontario, Canada GET TICKETS
    February 21, 2018 The Rex Toronto, Ontario, Canada GET TICKETS
    February 22, 2018 Funk-N-Waffles Syracuse, New York GET TICKETS
    February 23, 2018 The Red Room at Café 939 Boston, Massachusetts GET TICKETS
    February 24, 2018 Rockwood Manhattan, NYC, New York GET TICKETS
    © 2015 - 2018 FORQ & GroundUP Music

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  18. #118
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Camembert - Negative toe

  19. #119
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    I'd love to see more stuff of this caliber for sure

    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  20. #120
    Wow I think that's the earliest video performance I've seen of Michael Brecker.

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Can "pure improv" also be "prog fusion"? I usually think of prog as all written out, with complex time changes and unison passages.

    I guess it's all relative. Improvisation with a Mellotron perhaps.
    Albeit rarely, it can be "Prog".


  22. #122
    Member progholio's Avatar
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    Are these guys considered prog-fusion? If so i had the rare opportunity to see them twice in less than a week, once at a prog festival another at a jazz festival. They lit both places on fire and burnt them to the ground, so i'd say -




    It's Alive!!!
    Last edited by progholio; 4 Days Ago at 04:55 PM.

  23. #123
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    Marbin is fantastic. I've seen them several times and they are always worth it.

  24. #124
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    Based on the initial post for this thread discussion, I was pretty sure I knew what progfusion was/is, and the best I can tell you, is it's not gone, nor forgotten, It may be a bit more of a challenge to get some exposure as an artist. But hearing some of the examples of progfu in the videos, it's pretty apparent people feel differently about what prog and fusion is.

    Personally speaking/typing, I have had the pleasure of hearing some of the very best music from what I thought was progfusion. I am serious, it used to be a handful of bands that were making this challenging music, the ratio of effort/reward is so imbalanced that many musicians won't take the sacrifice to put that much work into the creation of music, and the education neccesary to attain that level of skill is both expensive and time consuming.

    Here are a few artists for example:

    ------------------

    ------------------

  25. #125
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    There are a lot more:

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