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Thread: Pleasant surprises and unfortunate disappointments

  1. #1

    Pleasant surprises and unfortunate disappointments

    ...and this is a thread about artists you are/were already at least somewhat familiar with but then heard something by them that positively surprised you.

    And similarly, when something by an artist you like disappointed you.

    For example...
    I recently bought Robert Wyatt’s Cuckooland. I have Rock Bottom and Shleep and like them ok but Cuckooland brought the man’s artistry home for me. What a shimmering, fragile piece of whimsical beauty! Man I love the fragmented sound of music that teeters on the edge of falling apart. No wonder the great Picchio dal Pozzo worship at the altar of Wyatt.

    I also picked up John Zorn’s At the Mountains of Madness, based on Zorn recs in a PE thread. I thought/hoped it would be like Mt. Analogue, which I enjoy tremendously, but ‘Madness’ was just too intense and unrelenting for me, over two hours of, well... madness. Gave me a headache and generally made me feel unpleasant.

  2. #2
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Not as "prog" here... I'm on a "Who discovery kick" and damn, I had no idea Who Are You would be as good as it is. I like the title track all right, but it's not all that special. It's better in context of the album, though.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  3. #3
    Robert Wyatt is the perfect man for this thread for me. A couple months back I got on a Wyatt kick and ended up acquiring all of his solo albums, and I pretty much had the opposite reaction. "Cuckooland" and "Comicopera" have yet to click with me, they're both pretty subtle and a lot of the songs tend to wash over me. However, I do keep coming back for some reason, maybe they'll unlock their magic someday. Old Rottenhat on the otherhand clicked immediately and it was a bit of a revelation to hear terrible keyboard settings sound so good. I also, until recently, put off "Nothing Can Stop Us" since its basically a covers album, but I gave it a dedicated listen and I think it creates an incredible atmosphere that is still very Wyatt-esque, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it.

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  4. #4
    I am hoping for a pleasant surprise from the 17-CD Redux Henry Cow boxset I have just ordered from ReR. I bought In Praise of Learning when it came out and I have Concerts on the original Caroline pressing. I must confess, though, that I have hardly listened to either of them over the past 40 plus years. But, despite many clear-outs of my vinyl collection over the decades, I have never got rid of these two albums. I sense they hold something for me that I have so far been unable to unlock. I ordered the Redux box because: I hear the remastering (and extended version of Concerts) is excellent; PE contributors whose tastes I broadly align with never have a harsh word to say about Henry Cow; the boxset is amazing value (the band's entire official output for £75, plus booklets); and any band who recorded with Virgin in the early years had to be (and unfailingly was) amazing. I suspect the secret to my ‘getting’ Henry Cow now will be time itself. Henry Cow was not a band you could just dip into and out of, and there was always a distraction in those years. The difference now is that I have enough time to listen closely.

  5. #5
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    I used to follow Peter Baumann religiously, right up until "Repeat Repeat" (sound of car falling off cliff...)

    I had given up Donovan for dead, until "Sutras" came out. His best album by a country mile.

    Brian Eno, and Konrad Schnitzler, and Steve Roach, and Klaus Schulze used to be "autobuys" for me until they started releasing multiple albums PER MONTH all of which sounded like clones of each other. Phooey.

  6. #6
    These New Puritans- Field Of Reeds

    I saw this band at a festival I was playing at after a friend highly recommended them but I couldn’t make it through more than two songs. Admittedly, before the first song had even finished I was on the back foot because they had broken one of the rules in my Key Tenets Of Rock book (a comprehensive, based on over 40 years of experience list of You Know A Band Will Probably Be Rubbish Before They Even Start Playing If...) which in this instance was ‘The singer also plays a floor-tom’

    I would never say anything unpleasant, publicly, about any artist, were it not to illustrate just how massively my opinion was reversed and continues to be by this album that came out a few years later.

    I think it is an absolute masterpiece, one of the very few in the 21st century. The once floor-tom playing singer, composer Jack Barnett is an exquisitely rare talent. I was banging on about this on here at the time, but had it on again only recently and none of its strange magic has been lost.
    It’s a sort of modern take on the kind of spectral, numinous chamber-ish sounds of Henry Cow or Talk Talk but without particularly sounding like either.

  7. #7
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    I guess in terms of pleasant surprises when some band I know nothing about just kills at a performance.

    The most resounding version of something in that vein happening was when I saw Henry Cow and the completely unknown to me opener, Etron Fou Leloublan, just killed and killed and killed.

    It taught me three things:

    1. You don't know everything about the music you like, even though I certainly thought I did (hey - I was 19) so stop thinking you do.

    2. Don't ever dismiss or pass on an opening act you've never heard of, only because they're the opening act you never heard of - especially in *my* field.

    [another 'opening act I never heard of until I saw them' a few years ago was US, TODAY, which also helps bring home this valuable point]

    3. Don't dismiss a band because they aren't English or American and they don't sing in English. [Again, I was 19 and I wasn't exposed to as much as I later became because I MADE myself get exposed].
    Steve F.

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  8. #8
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    "The singer plays a floor tom" is definitely a major no no.....

    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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

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

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

  9. #9
    It's even worse when the floor tom sings. Once that shit starts, I'm outta there.

  10. #10
    The most pleasant surprise for me was going to see a friend's band at a small club and getting there and finding out Sleepytime Gorilla Museum was the headliner. They came out and kicked my ass and mind in.

    Biggest disappointment might have been going to see Peter Murphy after really digging his at the time new album Lion. The show wasn't gas, but it was way below my expectations. That album Lion is still awesome as shit, though. And we all know shit is pretty freakin' awesome.

  11. #11
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Just last night, I watched Uriah Heep's recent concert video Magic Night, on Prime Video. I was amazed at how proggy it is. Another very pleasant surprise was Greg Lake's self titled solo album. Much proggier than I expected, given Greg's songwriting contributions to ELP.

    A major disappointment was Steve Howe's Remedy Elements, an album he recorded with his sons Virgil and Dylan. It turned out to be nothing more than improvising over blues progressions. A close second would be Spock's Beard's Feel Euphoria, the first post Neal album. But that may have been my expectations being too high. I didn't even know Neal had left until I opened the CD, which I had just purchased from Best Buy.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  12. #12
    Member yesman1955's Avatar
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    Pleasant surprise is easy, someone on PE turned me on to Big Big Train in 2008. 😁 Biggest disappointment has to be Jon Anderson - The Lost Tapes and that two thirds empty cardboard box. 😬

  13. #13
    Member yesman1955's Avatar
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    Steve F. Didn't Peter Gabriel stand behind (and occasionally play) a floor tom in the early Genesis days? You can see it on the Genesis Live LP cover.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by yesman1955 View Post
    Steve F. Didn't Peter Gabriel stand behind (and occasionally play) a floor tom in the early Genesis days? You can see it on the Genesis Live LP cover.
    That was a Bass Drum that P.G. used to play in the early days of Genesis (and what you see on the cover of Genesis Live).

  15. #15
    Member yesman1955's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification! Guess I don't know the difference just from looking.

  16. #16
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yesman1955 View Post
    Steve F. Didn't Peter Gabriel stand behind (and occasionally play) a floor tom in the early Genesis days? You can see it on the Genesis Live LP cover.
    it was said completely in jest, throwing back Kavus' joke.
    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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

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

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

  17. #17
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    ...I MADE myself get exposed.
    Well we've all made mistakes in our youth. Did you ever get your record expunged after that unfortunate incident?
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  18. #18
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    Well we've all made mistakes in our youth. Did you ever get your record expunged after that unfortunate incident?
    Expunged? I wallow in that unfortunate incident.
    Last edited by Steve F.; 12-23-2019 at 04:39 PM.
    Steve F.

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    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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

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

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    A major disappointment was Steve Howe's Remedy Elements, an album he recorded with his sons Virgil and Dylan.
    I never really got into Howe's solo stuff generally. Beyond a few good tunes like 'Pennants', it's a bit too 'muso' for me and then there are the occasional 'vocals' to contend with.

  20. #20
    Listening to the Who live At Hyde Park for the first time while reading this thread and I am pleasantly surprised at how good it is. Unfortunately I guess it's because I'm as old as they are, but, I don't need to hear the "F" word as often as they like saying it. I'm thinking that it pleases the youngsters who consider it acceptable language these days. I'll probably never get comfortable with that though. Anyhow they still can really play the music.

  21. #21
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    In august 1979 or 1980 I visited the yearly outdoor 'Land og Folk festival' in Copenhagen. It was a returning event every year, and since it was free, I went there if the weather was okay.

    This rather large festival was arranged by the Danish Communist Party (Sovjet commies) since the 1930'ties and was a propaganda platform with lots of events, cultural happenings of many sorts, tents with beer & food from different countries connected to the sovjet block, tents about cultural exchange from Cuba, Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, etc. - all praising everything going on behind the curtain, nuclear power, etc. You could get cheap beers and if the weather was nice, sit and listen to music - mostly rock, folk with leftwing lyrics for free.
    - And in those days tease them by asking where the Afghanistant tent was situated...
    https://filmcentralen.dk/museum/danm...-folk-festival

    But this time I heard a band playing something completely different from a small tent I passed. Far more exotic and interesting. It was Žursaflokkurinn.
    How they ended up there I can't say, but that really saved the day.


  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    - And in those days tease them by asking where the Afghanistant tent was situated...
    Excellent. Red faces all round, I suspect!
    The more you know you know you don't know what you know

  23. #23
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Munster View Post
    Excellent. Red faces all round, I suspect!

  24. #24
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    My pleasant surprise and unfortunate dissapointment were the same event.
    A few years ago I bought back some albums through discogs I had as a kid on tape before i became a prog fan.

    The surprise was how much I still liked the Fisher Z albums. The dissapointment were the two Styx records.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by starless and bible black View Post
    That was a Bass Drum that P.G. used to play in the early days of Genesis (and what you see on the cover of Genesis Live).
    Didn't he only get to play it if the road crew hadn't hidden the pedal or 'forgot' to mic it up?

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