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Thread: Asia S/T = Groundbreaking !

  1. #1

    Asia S/T = Groundbreaking !

    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 !
    Last edited by Rufus; 05-25-2013 at 08:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Hmmm. Maybe. But I have a hard time thinking *they're* the ones who broke new ground doing it.

  3. #3
    Not groundbreaking... "CALCULATED". They knew exactly what they were doing, making an album of radio accessible songs, and they did it well. To be groundbreaking, they would have to develop a new style of music that influenced many who followed. ASIA did not.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Man In The Mountain View Post
    Not groundbreaking... "CALCULATED". They knew exactly what they were doing, making an album of radio accessible songs, and they did it well. To be groundbreaking, they would have to develop a new style of music that influenced many who followed. ASIA did not.

    I hear their influenced radio commercial / freindly rock all through the 80's so yes , it was grounbreaking !

  5. #5
    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    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 !
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_(album)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_(Journey_album)
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

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  7. #7
    I think it was more about the result of certain forces coming together to create something popular. I can't believe they set out to break any new ground. But, to someone else's point in the other thread, it seems contrived. I do think it's quite good for what it is. I liked it at the time, saw their first official tour show and enjoyed it very much. But, it really does nothing for me now, so there's no real staying power.

  8. #8
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    This was groundbreaking in the sense that I dug a hole in my backyard and buried it.

    Just kidding!

    I never owned any early Asia albums and even though I had my ears open for interesting stuff around the time this came out nothing on the radio grabbed me. Perhaps it was groundbreaking in the sense that it influenced some of what came after?

    Who among well-known (to us fans of the obscure) modern prog bands mentions being heavily influenced by Asia?

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    But, it really does nothing for me now, so there's no real staying power.
    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

  11. #11
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    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.

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  13. #13
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    I was extremely disappointed with that cheese platter when I spun it for the first time.

    I only listened to it once since its release.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    This was groundbreaking in the sense that I dug a hole in my backyard and buried it.
    I think I used my copy as a Frisbee.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by philsunset View Post
    I think I used my copy as a Frisbee.
    Thank you for your insightful contribution to the debate ! I'm sure there's many albums you like that i threw in the trash can but it would mean shit to a discussion !

    OK , apparently from another thread you rate Touch's debut as a classic album. I'M SPEECHLESS !!!
    Last edited by Rufus; 05-25-2013 at 11:37 AM.

  16. #16
    Well it would't bother me in the least if you tossed out your copies of music I may like. You'll have a cleaner house or apartment. To each their own.

  17. #17
    More like heartbreaking.

  18. #18
    A timeless masterpiece. That's all I can say.

  19. #19
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    here's my review:


    thesis:

    look for the most cynical thing in modern music and you’ll not stray far from the name ASiA. to many it is the culmination of a particularily nasty episode in modern music, when the industry was suddenly flooded with lawyers, economists and self-described “impressarios“, who had all learned that this is a business where there's actually money to be earned. loads of. now, this is far from a novel phenomenon – the most successful pop, also but not exclusively in sales terms, always had the aid and vision of shrewd business types but it was not until the late 1970s that musicians were suddenly faced with an ever decreasing acceptance of them just delivering creativity and doing what they do best and see where it takes themselves and their art. and now you find yourself in ‘82. punk came and went but what it left was a welcome damper to many rock dinosaurs, who quickly got lost in the mire of their own craftiness and – consequently – self-indulgence, which left audiences increasingly puzzled and ultimately caring less. disco came and went and quickly took the power back to the producer and mastermind, making it possible to move the masses without any musical or instrumental skill of importance (a skill in itself).

    and MTV came – and stayed, forever dictating not only what you should sound like but also what to look like when sounding the right way – and whatever the powers that be deemed right. stadium rock came and stayed and wrote the book about booking four or more hot bands into a stadium and earning the quadruple amount of, say, of booking one band and one support act into one arena. this in itself yielded many classic bands that were great during their heyday and many times still draw ‘em in on festivals, country fairs, theatres, rib cook-outs or even the odd arena size gig. think REO Speedwagon, Journey, Toto, Boston ... they all posessed an individual sound but also had the knack to move the masses with their formulaic song structures, grand solos, big hair, lost love ballads and cinemascope sound.

    enter management behemoth brian lane and A&R guru john kalodner: “how about forming a band that plays just that to appeal to the predominantly white and working baby boomer generation of middle class america, but consists of some well known names of much loved 70s acts that did not seem to be able to roll with the changes? let’s see who's out there ... steve howe, surely one of the finest guitar players ever, on a loose end since the demise of YES – carl palmer of ELP, he’s on a pemanent vacation in tenerife – john wetton, ex- ... well everybody. on keys – how about that bloke from the ... er... buggles?“ and, presto! four young(ish) brits with rogueish good looks that did the trick. Journey's producer mike stone, an expert when it comes to iron out edges and frayed ends, was quickly assigned the task of making this a presentable selling object, roger dean was back at the drawing board to give it a distinct YES visual albeit with an new angular logo (nowadays an absolute design classic – but i digress...) and some dragonforce attached to appeal to the new heavy metal crowd, and a deal was quickly secured by the fledgling david geffen company (later to achieve world domination with guns ‘n’roses’ seminal “appetite for corrupt..., erm.. destruction”). there you go: nine pleasant melodic rock songs with enough catchiness to have your parents hum the keyboard intro to “only time will tell” and the odd off-kilter instrumental flourish that sold a whoppin’ nine million copies upon release. mission accomplished. by the end of the decade steve howe was back in YES and carl palmer ran off back to work with keith emerson, eventually to return with a fully fledged ELP-reunion in the early 90s that sounded like ASiA in parts. you do the math.


    antithesis:

    “in order to be a band of the 80’s you have to stop being a band of the 70’s.“ (steve howe)
    “come, friends – we’re bound to find something better than death somewhere!“ (‘the town musicians of bremen’, brothers grimm)

    and henceforth things went their way. while a bunch of industry suits and ponytailed entertainment attorneys were busy creating cunning sales plans and generally spewed up a lot of marketing b*llsh*t across the boardrooms, these four seasoned professionals were pretty much left to their own devices in coming up with some presentable and sellable material. and they coped admirably well, in fact, steve howe’s quote above is a fair assessment of the situation. accusing ASiA of selling out to the american mainstream market is not the entire truth in explaining why there are so many concise and short songs on there – all of them have grown up after all in 1960s great britain and when the time came to build on what the beatles had started some years earlier, they took their expertise and ruled the 1970’s as legends of progressive rock.

    this time they are actually going back even further than that, back to the lush harmony pop of said decade that many post-beatles bands did so well. and it actually doesn't works too badly, there are plenty of nice vocal harmonies and a gargantuan sound that uncannily conjurs up comparisons to what phil spector did with his patented “wall of sound“ productions, whilst firmly remaining british at heart. but the record is far from being great. the timeless “heat of the moment“ remains its best song and continues to be up there with the best loved rock classics and with a lot of good will one might even add “only time will tell“ to that list, despite it showing of just where this album falls short ... a lot of the songs are strangely fragmentary and display well just why the members of ASiA can’t quite grasp the idea of being an 80’s band. when it works – as in “time again“ – it works a treat, when it doesn’t – as in “one step closer” or “without you” it can be a bit groansome. but it did yield a strong writing partnership inbetween john wetton and geoff downes, that would eventually perfect things on their sophomore effort “alpha“ – ultimately at the expense of steve howe. and this is where i’d probably best hand you over to all the other numerous pages that retell the, ahem, colourful story of ASiA better than i can.

    conclusion: yes, it’s a classic. not because of what it sounds like, though.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    I hear their influenced radio commercial / freindly rock all through the 80's so yes , it was grounbreaking !
    No, that sound was already being developed, by too many bands to mention, in the late 70's. Nearly every prog band in that time was trying to adapt to it.

    It's a good album (they managed only once), that I still enjoy... but groundbreaking is the last word I would use to describe it.

  21. #21
    Not saying that Asia are exempt from any criticism, but iguana really sounds to me like that crazy conspiracist I debated with a little while back who insisted, among other things, that Asia were part of some bizarre, secret social engineering experiment on youth. I can't help but imagine some dude sitting in front of a computer in the dark & wearing a tin foil hat.

  22. #22
    So, what's with the large font?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Scherze View Post
    Not saying that Asia are exempt from any criticism, but iguana really sounds to me like that crazy conspiracist I debated with a little while back who insisted, among other things, that Asia were part of some bizarre, secret social engineering experiment on youth. I can't help but imagine some dude sitting in front of a computer in the dark & wearing a tin foil hat.
    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 haven’t worn a tin-foil hat since 1982, thank you!

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    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.)
    'The smell of strange colours are heard everywhere'- Threshold

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Man In The Mountain View Post
    No, that sound was already being developed, by too many bands to mention, in the late 70's. Nearly every prog band in that time was trying to adapt to it.

    It's a good album (they managed only once), that I still enjoy... but groundbreaking is the last word I would use to describe it.
    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 !

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