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Thread: How would you say prog evolved in the past 20 years?

  1. #26
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    I haven't really connected with Mercury Tree but I defer to experts in terms of their microtonal endeavors. I have the Scott Walker album Soused with Sunn O))) and really like it. Terrific stuff.
    The first Mercury Tree is pretty good, they played Progday 15 when you were there I think. ( some people got upset that there was cookie monster vocals for all of 10 seconds )
    Spider Milk is ( as Baribrotzer noted ) rather uneven at times.
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  2. #27
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    The first Mercury Tree is pretty good, they played Progday 15 when you were there I think. ( some people got upset that there was cookie monster vocals for all of 10 seconds )
    Spider Milk is ( as Baribrotzer noted ) rather uneven at times.
    I have the first one I'll give another whirl.
    Ian

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  3. #28
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    [*]The late work of Scott Walker, from The Drift onward. This isn't "prog" - though it's sure-as-hell progressive - and I couldn't even start to accurately describe what it is. Serious, austere experimental music with roots in MOR pop? Dark surreal European art films for the ear? Scott started from an idiom already pretty far out, a bit like late Bowie - then walked straight off the edge and improbably remained suspended there, ignoring gravity, pirouetting in space, and levitating in thin air.[/LIST]
    I've heard good things about Scott Walker more than once, and from more than one source, but never looked into his music. Tonight,because of your post, I decided to listen toThe Drift on YouTube. I made it through the first two songs before bailing. Musically, I thought it was great, but I hate the vocals. Like a parody of a crooner. I'm not one of those who can ignore horrible vocals if the music is good, so he's probably not for me.

  4. #29
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    I've heard good things about Scott Walker more than once, and from more than one source, but never looked into his music. Tonight,because of your post, I decided to listen toThe Drift on YouTube. I made it through the first two songs before bailing. Musically, I thought it was great, but I hate the vocals. Like a parody of a crooner. I'm not one of those who can ignore horrible vocals if the music is good, so he's probably not for me.
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  5. #30
    Member mnprogger's Avatar
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    there's been an evolution/devolution on what defines "prog" and what defines "progressive."

    i.e. "prog" vs "progressive" vs "art rock/pop/folk"

    "taste great" vs "less filling"

    "coke" vs "pepsi"

    "mac" vs "pc"

    "mcondalds" vs "burger king"

    "the beatles" vs "the rolling stones"

    "Star Wars" vs "Star Trek"
    Last edited by mnprogger; 1 Week Ago at 11:03 PM.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    I think from the 90s to the very early 2000s, prog was in the early stages of the so-called "resurgence". I agree with Ian that much of the prog (and related) musical styles that became popular in the 90s have somewhat fizzled out. Neo-prog, post-rock, third wave symph, and 90s alt-rock influenced groups all seemed to have become far less a part of the scene after the early 2000s. And while I don't follow it closely, it seems prog-metal evolved during this time as well, shedding a lot of its post-80s vibe.
    In the 90s, there was the excitement of the newness of it all. The thrill of finding other prog fans on the then-still-novel internet and the new prog bands serving this fresh audience. A kind of malaise seemed to set in after that. There’s kind of a sense of taking it for granted, that prog will always be there. I’ve noticed that a lot of younger listeners seem to have the notion that prog is a sub-genre of metal, an idea I definitely reject as a non-metalhead.

    But in many ways, I would suggest it has not evolved much at all - at least in the last 15 years or so. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's more settled into a groove. I think the primary contribution collectively of the 2000s is that it somewhat homogenized the concept of genre blending. Much of the music feels like a culmination of the 40-50 years previous. Even modern day retro bands largely produce their "take" on a classic sound, but still often contains an aspect of modern music.
    I do notice that there are bands that take exciting twists thanks to their eclecticism; for example Chrome Hoof, who are much more than just another prog band. One development in the 2000s which seems to have [mercifully] run its course is what I call “Lazy Man’s Eclecticism,” essentially “Genre X + metal.”

    For example, I'd consider "All Traps on Earth" a modern classic, matching or even exceeding Anglagard (the obvious comparison) in many ways by both properly executing the same style in a compelling matter while integrating elements such as Zeuhl into the music.
    I definitely need to re-listen to this. I was really into it when I heard it, but it was right out of my head when it was done playing. That doesn’t mean it won’t stand the test of time, it just means I need more time with it. Viljans öga wasn’t immediate for me, either, but now I think it’s a virtual classic—better than Epilog and practically on a par with Hybris.

    The gear-fetishization kind of became de rigueur in the new Millennium, rather to the detriment of the music. The obsession with the Mellotron in particular has kind of become out of control. Now with the proliferation of sample sets and soft-synths, the sounds are available for just about anyone, and bands wind up using them without restraint or taste. I remember listening to this album by...I think it was TCP. And apart from the general sterility of the music and vocals, there were just wall-to-wall fortissimo sampled Mellotron strings splashed all over everything. Which is another thing I miss in a lot of MP3-era prog: the lack of dynamics.
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  7. #32
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    I haven't really connected with Mercury Tree but I defer to experts in terms of their microtonal endeavors.
    It was quite amazing live; that's where I became a convert.
    Steve F.

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  8. #33
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Do you dig Waits?
    Tom Waits? Not particularly, but his voice isn't bad enough to ruin the material. I don't see him as similar to Walker, though.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post

    [LIST][*]The Mercury Tree, and their experiments with 19-note microtonality. [*][*]The late work of Scott Walker, from The Drift onward.
    These, in addition to Sleepytime? I like all three (although, to be fair, SGM culled more than a few tricks out from the hats of Art Bears and Swans a.o.), but would add the following:

    Zs - in their formalist approach to integrate maximalist minimalism into an electroacoustic domain otherwise identifiable as "once rock".
    Normal Love - for aschewing the attention to formalities even further and essentially redefining rock's potential from within the confines of contemporary maximalist composition. Little if any "rock" music was ever as immensely dense as this.

    Even a long-standing project like Thinking Plague pulled a steep step on Hoping Against Hope.
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  10. #35
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    It was quite amazing live; that's where I became a convert.
    I certainly enjoyed them live, I listened to the album last night. I enjoy it but I doubt I could recognize microtonality unless I knew it was there.
    Ian

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  11. #36
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    These, in addition to Sleepytime? I like all three (although, to be fair, SGM culled more than a few tricks out from the hats of Art Bears and Swans a.o.), but would add the following:

    Zs - in their formalist approach to integrate maximalist minimalism into an electroacoustic domain otherwise identifiable as "once rock".
    Normal Love - for aschewing the attention to formalities even further and essentially redefining rock's potential from within the confines of contemporary maximalist composition. Little if any "rock" music was ever as immensely dense as this.

    Even a long-standing project like Thinking Plague pulled a steep step on Hoping Against Hope.
    Normal Love is a very good call. I'd throw Make A Rising in the same camp.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  12. #37
    Member MaikH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    I've heard good things about Scott Walker more than once, and from more than one source, but never looked into his music. Tonight,because of your post, I decided to listen toThe Drift on YouTube. I made it through the first two songs before bailing. Musically, I thought it was great, but I hate the vocals. Like a parody of a crooner. I'm not one of those who can ignore horrible vocals if the music is good, so he's probably not for me.
    My personal recommendation would be to persevere, but choose another entry point - starting out with his last albums is comparable to getting acquainted with David Sylvian via Blemish or Manafon. Like you, I heard so many good words about Walker that I finally gave in last year, and unlike you (yet ...) became a fan. I agree that his later vocal style is so unique that it is definitely an acquired taste. What worked for me was taking the journey along with him through the years, if only for the fascination of seeing how a very successful and at least somewhat conventional pop star forges a path for himself that is at ninety degrees to the rest of the universe.

    My point of entry was Scott 4, but Scott 3 might work even better. Skip the dark years to Climate of Hunter and Tilt, and if these work for you, then eventually The Drift and Bish Bosch will grow on you, too. If you happen to hate his vocals on Scott 3/4, too, there still are his purely instrumental works Childhood of a Leader and and who shall go to the ball ... to seek out.

  13. #38
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I love Scott Walker”s later era albums. Absolutely nothing wrong with his vocals.


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  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    I certainly enjoyed them live, I listened to the album last night. I enjoy it but I doubt I could recognize microtonality unless I knew it was there.
    The album where The Mercury Tree introduce microtonality is their third (I believe) record, Spidermilk. The first two are OK, but this one really elevates the game, both in terms of adding microtonality and just being more overall interesting to my ears. That's the one I'd check out.

    I'm not sure I'd classify what they're doing as an "evolution" (I wouldn't personally classify what SGM did that way either, fwiw). The addition of microtonality is an interesting twist, but unless that really catches on in some big way, I'd hardly say it represents an evolution of the style. Most groups are caught in that conundrum and have been since 1990 or even earlier. It's hard to be really innovative in the wake of the massive period of exploration and inventiveness of the 60s/70s. This isn't to say there aren't tons of bands still making cool music, but I don't see great evolution in Prog Rock since 2000. Most groups make incremental additions to paths that were largely well-worn by that time, but the best of them bring a measure of creativity within those established parameters to the table.

    Bill

  15. #40
    To answer the OP's question, I would say progressive rock hasn't really evolved at all since the 1970's when it reached its zenith. From the late 60's hard pscyh bands to Canterbury to Zeuhl to the symphonic style that the most popular bands adopted in the early 70's, I'm afraid as much as I enjoy it all, evolved it has not. Since reading the question yesterday I've been trying to think of one band that formed after the 1980's that is doing something in the larger progressive rock tent that I would consider as evolved, or unique, from their historical forbearers. Maybe I listen to too much classical or jazz today and have missed a unique contemporary band that is taking progressive rock somethere it has never been before but I could not think of an example.

    Beginning in the 1980's with neo prog bands like Pallas, IQ and Marillion, what you have are bands recreating styles from the past that people love and missed after Yes and Genesis went in the pop direction in the 1980's. Don't get me wrong, I love IQ and Marillion but there is no doubt where they are coming from. In the 90's you saw a rise in the number of bands playing prog and neo prog but even then they mostly sounded like other bands. Anglagard and Landberk are good examples of this. More skilled musicians in bands like Porcupine Tree make interesting enough music that there isn't one obvious nod to a particular band but the influences throughout their career are still readily apparent and one cannot say they took their composititions in ways we've not heard before. You also have bands like Glass Hammer, which I like quite a lot, but in their case they tend to make a few albums that ape one particular band and then switch to another for the next record. Over their long career we have Kansas Glass Hammer, Yes Glass Hammer and most recently Rush Glass Hammer. I think it's just a tribute honestly to how incredibly creative a time the 60's and 70's were in rock music that so many bands came along and made prog records that sounded so different, really stretching out the genre. From Cressida, Renaissance, Gong, Hawkwind, Egg, Caravan, VDGG, Can, Faust, and Henry Cow one really travels through an incredibly varied prog universe and that is just some of the lesser known bands. We all know what the big guys did since we still talk about them so much. Heck, bands like Starcastle and Druid starting making Yes records while Yes were still in their era of prime creativity! Given the incredible music that has already been made within the larger genre, I think it really difficult for bands today to bring something new to the table.

  16. #41
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    The album where The Mercury Tree introduce microtonality is their third (I believe) record, Spidermilk. The first two are OK, but this one really elevates the game, both in terms of adding microtonality and just being more overall interesting to my ears. That's the one I'd check out.

    Bill
    I gave Spidermilk another listen and it's a pretty good album, actually enjoyed it more than I remember so I may well buy it. It does make me think of Porcupine Tree / Pineapple Thief type of song structure and sound but with interesting guitars. I wouldn't call it revolutionary but as I said I no expert on this area.
    Ian

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  17. #42
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I am finding the most satisfaction in instrumental prog such as The Future Kings of England, Vietgrove, Ephemeral Sun, Djam Karet, etc. I can't really say they're entirely without precedent but it is an interesting subgenre that has given me a lot of delight.
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  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    I gave Spidermilk another listen and it's a pretty good album, actually enjoyed it more than I remember so I may well buy it. It does make me think of Porcupine Tree / Pineapple Thief type of song structure and sound but with interesting guitars. I wouldn't call it revolutionary but as I said I no expert on this area.
    Cool, glad you gave Spidermilk another shot. I basically agree with your assessment, but this album worked far better for me than their first two, so I was encouraged.

    There's a band that is local to Boston called the 13 O'Clock Blues Band where the guitarist uses microtonal guitars. It's not Prog, but it's pretty cool. The guitar player had another band that was more fusion oriented called The Fretless Brothers, and I enjoy that a lot as well. The microtonal thing is interesting, but you have get used to it.

    Bill

  19. #44
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    It should be said that Toby Driver was pretty much the only guy who made genuinely progressive prog rock in the 21st century without taking direct cues from the ol' prog tradition.

    The guy basically despises prog rock and grew up on old school obscure metal, yet still gave us wicked, original stuff like Part the Second and Plastic House in Base of Sky. Not derivative at all.
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  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    It should be said that Toby Driver was pretty much the only guy who made genuinely progressive prog rock in the 21st century without taking direct cues from the ol' prog tradition.

    The guy basically despises prog rock and grew up on old school obscure metal, yet still gave us wicked, original stuff like Part the Second and Plastic House in Base of Sky. Not derivative at all.
    I was about to post the same thing, and agree with you. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - which I love and prefer to Kayo Dot - is not that groundbreaking in my book. Toby Driver on the other hand has composed rock music that truly seems to have sprung out of a completely unique vision.

  21. #46
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    ^^^ Alright I'll have to check out TD with superlatives like that being thrown about.

    One trend I've noticed is an expanding eclecticism. The comment above about "Genre X + metal" is one form and I agree the eclecticism can be arbitrary reducing the value to a few laughs. But other combinations of folk, RIO, world, etc., can be very powerful and moving. One crazy one that I took a chance on a year or two ago during a Wayside sale is Förträngt hushållsarbete. Been getting as many spins as anything else in the last few months over here. Just. can't. stop. listening.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    One crazy one that I took a chance on a year or two ago during a Wayside sale is Förträngt Hushållsarbete. Been getting as many spins as anything else in the last few months over here. Just. can't. stop. listening.
    Great band - haven't listened to them for a while, but I love that album. Really hard stuff to describe - which is a good sign. Maybe like Dungen taken about five steps further?

  23. #48
    Toby Driver is a most obvious candidate. Not because he "[…] despises prog rock" - I've read highly positive comments on artists like KC, HCow, VdGG and Magma by him - but simply due to his commitment and dedication to his own idiosyncratic vision. Titles like Dowsing Anemone, Coyote and Blue Lambency make for some of the most unique and challenging sound coming out of contemporary progressive and/or rock in general, and I'm extremely glad I caught up with him in his time.

    His later work (i.e. post-Hubardo), including solo and stuff like the Vaura project, is a bit more hit'n'miss for my tastes, yet there's some fine music to be had on those as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    Förträngt hushållsarbete.
    This one remains on my top-10 list of progressives from the past 25 years. There were antecedents even to them, though - in names like The Work, Expander des Fortschritts, This Heat, Ur Kaos and so on, but their take on it was absolutely singular, powerful and intensely beautiful.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    I am finding the most satisfaction in instrumental prog such as The Future Kings of England, Vietgrove, Ephemeral Sun, Djam Karet, etc. I can't really say they're entirely without precedent but it is an interesting subgenre that has given me a lot of delight.
    Thanks to our small but dedicated base of enthusiasts, the 'Sun continues it's glacially-slow rise to top of indie prog heap, one mention at a time
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  25. #50
    I haven't re-read the full thread. But since I see lamentations about not enough posting in the Gazpacho thread (by the way...I'm not a Gazpacho fan), I guess I'll post here.

    Through my own very subjective lens, the minute Prog evolves into something significantly progressive it tends to fall outside what people comfortably consider Prog. Not that they don't like it or hate it because it doesn't sound like Close to the 2112 Lambs Lying Down Outside the Wall of Thick Bricks, but rather they don't really bucket it in with those sorts of bands either.

    Not really about how the scene has evolved, but a bit how I as a listener have evolved...Bandcamp has become the great equalizer for me. I don't search by genre so much as follow recommendations wherever they may lead. A psych band leads to some dungeon synth thing, to a Mort Garson reissue, to some old comp of Italian giallo horror themes, to Calibro 35, to Secret Chiefs 3, to Toby Driver, and so on. I'm not stopping to worry or wonder what genre it falls to...doesn't really matter.

    I guess, since the very essense of progressive means not fitting so neatly into preexisting buckets...it's better/easier/more fun to skip those filters completely and just follow those rabbit holes wherever they lead.

    (Re-reading the above...hmmm, I've probably just produced the best evidence for why I mostly lurk these days.)
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