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Thread: Asia S/T = Groundbreaking !

  1. #26
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    I flat-out, unabashedly love this album. I've said many times that it was my "gateway" to prog and I still love to listen to it. One of my all-time faves.


    But there's absolutely nothing groundbreaking about it.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I think "groundbreaking" is a strong word to describe Asia, but I think it did find a niche (crossing Boston with ELP might be one way of describing it) that had not been exploited yet. AOR with the trappings of prog. At least in 1982 it sounded fresh, interesting, and not quite like anything else out there.

    And, on the first LP, the riffs were damn good. So I think its blockbuster status is well deserved. How well does it stand the test of time? Dunno. Sometimes I listen to it now and really enjoy it. Other times, not so much.
    This is close to my own position. When I discovered Asia, I was a very young teen and had not heard anything remotely like "prog." Among the other pop/rock songs I was hearing on the radio, Asia immediately stood out from the bands everyone is comparing them to (Journey, etc.). Songs like "Only Time Will Tell" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" had a very European elegance to them (that I now can see as going back a bit to the "baroque pop" sound of the mid-to-late '60s) that was simply not present (at least to anywhere near the same degree) in the other AOR acts of the time. I loved it then (especially Alpha, which I still prefer to the debut), though I certainly grew to prefer the classic prog sound of their predecessor bands once I heard it. I can totally see why fans of the earlier groups would have hated it--in some ways, it probably was aimed at younger listeners like myself. However, I think people sometimes downplay the unique aspects of their songs and especially arrangements, which were very apparent to those still unfamiliar with classic prog, and who could only compare Asia to the other commercial AOR groups dominating the radio and MTV at the time.

  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    You can say that about any ground breaking genre album ! KC's ITCOTCK was a sound that band`s in the late 60's were developing...the Moody's , Beetles et al !
    So you agree it's not ground breaking then.
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  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Stickleback View Post
    So you agree it's not ground breaking then.

    Then what is ?

  5. #30

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    You can say that about any ground breaking genre album ! KC's ITCOTCK was a sound that band`s in the late 60's were developing...the Moody's , Beetles et al !
    The off-the-charts instrumentation in KC's ITCOTCK is well above that of The Moody Blues & The Beatles. Really, YES 90125 is perhaps more groundbreaking than that ASIA album. Or how about Genesis Abacab, released the same year? ASIA was just an attempt to sound like bands that were already really selling very well at the time, and they pulled it off! For one album at least. Their goal was not to re-invent the wheel, but roll with it.

  7. #32
    At least it beats the shit out of Rush. Much better melodies. Heat of the Moment is the worst track.

  8. #33
    One of my Desert Island Discs, actually. I was 8 when it came out and hadn't been introduced to the likes of Yes, KC, Genesis, etc., so this was my first semi-proggish record. The sound of it takes me back to the time when I was first discovering what kind of music really spoke to me, so it will always hold up for me. I can see why it might not for others, though.
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  9. #34
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I think "groundbreaking" is a strong word to describe Asia, but I think it did find a niche (crossing Boston with ELP might be one way of describing it) that had not been exploited yet. AOR with the trappings of prog. At least in 1982 it sounded fresh, interesting, and not quite like anything else out there.
    I always thought Kansas did this.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthNY Mark View Post
    However, I think people sometimes downplay the unique aspects of their songs and especially arrangements, which were very apparent to those still unfamiliar with classic prog, and who could only compare Asia to the other commercial AOR groups dominating the radio and MTV at the time.
    This is what I think set them apart from their AOR peers. At least, on the debut - they lost that going forward, which is why the debut is by far their best effort, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingCrimson776 View Post
    At least it beats the shit out of Rush.
    No, not really.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer's ghost View Post
    While I absolutely agree with the vast majority of PEers that this album is absolutely not prog or progressive (they're frequently not one and the same), I believe it to be one of the best classic rock albums of all-time. I would actually go so far as to esteem it as my album of the year 'in '82'. (No offense to Rush though, as I also laud Signals.)
    This I agree with. They certainly made a classic rock record for the eighties.

  11. #36
    King crimson who put out a couple albums around this time and the Talking heads stuff was way more interesting to my ears


    The debut Asia album( to me) only had a couple above average songs....no classics or epics that demand the kind of attention it gets...all fluff and no guts....

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by N_Singh View Post
    Actually, THIS was pretty bad ass for 1982. "Let me show it to you!!!!!" Dig that bass line by Mr. "Deacon John" (sic)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAqMAwV_CAs
    It was even better in concert without the horns. Onstage, John played rhythm guitar, while their onstage keyboardist played synth bass and Dr. May played the horn riff on guitar:


  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by iguana View Post
    well, john kalodner and david geffen were instrumental in the formation of the band. granted, what i wrote did contain some satirical exaggeration. plus, i havenít worn a tin-foil hat since 1982, thank you!
    I thought that Brian Lane and Steve Howe were responsible in forming Asia? Didn't John Wetton help, too? I actually like Asia. They blended the new wave of The Buggles with the bombastic prog of Yes and ELP. I think some of Geoff's keyboard lines are like a cross between Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. I have watched the Asia In Asia concert a few times on YouTube, and I think some of the songs from the debut come off better live, especially when Geoff inserts his mini-moog into Heat Of The Moment and Only Time Will Tell. Also, nice to see that he was using an actual organ onstage, instead of just synths. Getting back on track, I do think that Asia was very groundbreaking. Along with Drama by Yes, World's Apart by Saga, and Abacab by Genesis, Asia mixed prog, new wave, and arena rock. I think that Songs From The Lion's Cage by Arena sounds like a mix of Asia and Marillion. I also hear some Asia influence in Enchant.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    It was even better in concert without the horns. Onstage, John played rhythm guitar, while their onstage keyboardist played synth bass and Dr. May played the horn riff on guitar:

    GOTCHA! That was awesome! Love those guitar parts!

    I didn't know this tour was taped. Thanks for sharing. Gotta go search it out.

    Now this was an example of a classic 1970s band not being satisfied with the same-old same-old, reinventing themselves with fresh sounding music that didn't sound like god-awful corporate, back-room Brian Lane-brain induced AOR.

    *Dragon Attack* was kinda the foreshadowing of *Hot Space*. *Hot Space* kind of ruining their career in the US until Bill and Ted brought them back to cultural relevance.

    Still waiting for the Queen catalogue to be re-issued in 5.1.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_Singh View Post
    GOTCHA! That was awesome! Love those guitar parts!

    I didn't know this tour was taped. Thanks for sharing. Gotta go search it out.

    Now this was an example of a classic 1970s band not being satisfied with the same-old same-old, reinventing themselves with fresh sounding music that didn't sound like god-awful corporate, back-room Brian Lane-brain induced AOR.

    *Dragon Attack* was kinda the foreshadowing of *Hot Space*. *Hot Space* kind of ruining their career in the US until Bill and Ted brought them back to cultural relevance.

    Still waiting for the Queen catalogue to be re-issued in 5.1.
    Are you saying that you like Hot Space? Btw, it was Wayne's World that brought Queen back from the dead.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by ZEPPELIN4EVER View Post
    King crimson who put out a couple albums around this time and the Talking heads stuff was way more interesting to my ears


    The debut Asia album( to me) only had a couple above average songs....no classics or epics that demand the kind of attention it gets...all fluff and no guts....
    And KC & Talking Heads put out epics at that time...must have missed it ! Whether u like em or not, Heat of the Moment and Only Time will Tell will forever be remembered as 80's AOR classics ° Cutting It Fine is also an AOR epic °

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    And KC & Talking Heads put out epics at that time...must have missed it ! Whether u like em or not, Heat of the Moment and Only Time will Tell will forever be remembered as 80's AOR classics ° Cutting It Fine is also an AOR epic °
    I'm glad that Asia didn't do epics. If they did, people would be writing those epics off as pale imitations of the epics of King Crimson, ELP, and Yes. Asia is MTV prog.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by JIF View Post
    I'm glad that Asia didn't do epics. If they did, people would be writing those epics off as pale imitations of the epics of King Crimson, ELP, and Yes. Asia is MTV prog.

    Correct !

  19. #44
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    The live "Staying Power" is WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY better than the studio version. I wish they'd put the cheap funk crap back and done THIS version in the studio.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by N_Singh View Post
    GOTCHA! That was awesome! Love those guitar parts!

    I didn't know this tour was taped. Thanks for sharing. Gotta go search it out.
    The Milton Keynes show was shot and aired on the BBC and MTV. I actually remember staying up and watching the MTV broadcast (though I think I fell asleep after only a few songs...hey, I was 9 years old, I wasn't used to staying up past 9:00!) The concert was released on DVD a few years ago, under that rather unfortunate title Queen On Fire At The Bowl. Great, great show.

    Quote Originally Posted by N_Singh View Post
    Now this was an example of a classic 1970s band not being satisfied with the same-old same-old, reinventing themselves with fresh sounding music that didn't sound like god-awful corporate...AOR.
    Well, I think it helped that Queen always evolved and did different types of things on each album. One might be forgiven if they thought A Night At The Opera or News Of The World were various artist compilations (except that obviously, there's one guy singing lead on most of the songs). And the various band members all had different interests that came to the fore in the songwriting. So the idea of moving in a different direction in the 80's was just their SOP. Now, it may have cost them some of their Stateside audience, but hey, that's what happens sometimes? They were still huge everywhere else in the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by N_Singh View Post
    *Dragon Attack* was kinda the foreshadowing of *Hot Space*.
    That and Another One Bites The Dust. Roger Taylor suggests that they were "sidetracked by the success of Another Bites The Dust down a road that wasn't really Queen music".

  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by JIF View Post
    Are you saying that you like Hot Space? Btw, it was Wayne's World that brought Queen back from the dead.
    Oy! Don't remind me! Mike Myers was right when he said "We've just whizzed on a Picasso" after watching the "Wayne's World" version of the Bohemian Rhapsody video. To make matters worse, that was just after Freddie passed (which I think also had something to do with Queen coming back to prominence, Stateside), so they inserted all these extra shots of Freddie from newsreel footage and such, so the video came off as "We're paying tribute to Freddie, but we're also trying to promote our tacky little movie at the same time". Should have been one or the other, if you ask me.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    It wasn't what was expected but it created a new genre of 80's AOR/Melodic Rock. The album is very clever in its execution with melodies to die for. It also resulted in Wetton & Downes writing partnership being very much in demand by other artists & producers !

    The Greg Lake thread was being derailed so thought I'd bring it over here .

    Discuss !
    This album was so disappointing to me it turned me off from buying albums for a while. I was so psyched for the the first prog supergroup. Growing up with ELP, YES et al this just had to be prog of all time - until it came out and was a bubble gum prog like.

    In my opinion only

  23. #48
    chalkpie
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    Sorry to sound like a music snob, but to call Asia "musically groundbreaking" is a bunch of shite. Not including the world of classical, electronic, jazz, prog alone way before and after makes this album look like a cheaply made chinese plastic toy.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Sorry to sound like a music snob, but to call Asia "musically groundbreaking" is a bunch of shite. Not including the world of classical, electronic, jazz, prog alone way before and after makes this album look like a cheaply made chinese plastic toy.
    Apart from prog , i prefer AOR to any of those genres of music . Electronic is music programmed by machines , Jazz is noodling & boring with no real melodic sense and there arent many classical compositions that maintains my attention !

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Apart from prog , i prefer AOR to any of those genres of music . Electronic is music programmed by machines , Jazz is noodling & boring with no real melodic sense and there arent many classical compositions that maintains my attention !
    Sentiments which perfectly explain your position on what supposedly constitutes anything "groundbreaking". Asia weren't "MTV prog" - they were MTV period.
    "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

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