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Old 06-12-2010, 12:34 PM
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Default Prog rock

So I don't know much about prog rock outside of Rush, though I have the general impression it's a lot of noodlin' around with instruments for a long time and not exactly up my alley. But I figure I should give it a shot before writing it off!

Teach me.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:37 PM
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You're a metalhead, right? There's a whole lotta prog up in that shit. Plus it's what gave Dr. Venture his genius!

Everyone's going to have deeper suggestions than mine, so I'll just get the obvious out of the way and say Close to the Edge by Yes.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:03 PM
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You can't go wrong with Aqualung by Jethro Tull.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:10 PM
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You can't go wrong with Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull.
Come on, man, 45 minute songs are where the prog is at.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:13 PM
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Listen to King Crimson. Court of the Crimson King is a given, Lark's Tongues in Aspic is really experimental and strange but very good.


the final track of Red is also pretty amazing (Starless), the rest is just decent.
Lizard is... eh. Not sure about the rest

also you really should listen to Thick as a Brick, it's an incredibly fun album
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:15 PM
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Lizard is... eh. Not sure about the rest
That pretty much covers it; the '80s albums get a lot of acclaim but I've always found them offputtingly sterile.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calorie Mate View Post
So I don't know much about prog rock outside of Rush, though I have the general impression it's a lot of noodlin' around with instruments for a long time and not exactly up my alley. But I figure I should give it a shot before writing it off!

Teach me.
Check out Prog Archives and poke around. Prog rock is more of a catch-all term and can be stretched from King Crimson to Death to Al Di Meola. I'd imagine you'd be more into the Extreme/Technical Prog Metal catergories, but there's lots of stuff that has been mentioned thus far. If you want to listen to some of the first prog groups, check Emerson, Lake and Palmer's self titled disc, King Crimson's "Red", Camel's "Mirage" for decent starter stuff.

There's prog suited for all kinds of tastes, you just need to find what fits yours and build on from there.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:24 PM
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I know that early Genesis is considered prog rock, but which albums are the best/most proggy?
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:25 PM
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I know that early Genesis is considered prog rock, but which albums are the best/most proggy?
Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway make up the most acclaimed stretch. If you only get one, get Foxtrot.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:28 PM
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A handy sampler of albums, because tracks alone don't cut it:

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the precursor)
Led Zeppelin - I, II, III, zoso
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King, Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Red
Yes - Fragile, Close to the Edge, Going for the One
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus, Brain Salad Surgery
Can - Tago Mago, Future Days, Landed, Soon Over Babaluma
Rush - Hemispheres, Permanent Waves
Camel - The Snow Goose, Rain Dances
Genesis - Foxtrot, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, A Trick of the Tail, Duke
Gong - You, Live Floating Anarchy 1977
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals
Jethro Tull - Aqualung, Thick as a Brick, Heavy Horses
Gentle Giant - Octopus, In a Glass House
Chicago - At Carnegie Hall
Brand X - Unorthodox Behaviour
Marillion - Misplaced Childhood, Brave, Marbles
Hawkwind - In Search of Space, Space Ritual
Kansas - Song for America
Magma - Attahk
Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts

That should keep you busy for a while.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway make up the most acclaimed stretch. If you only get one, get Foxtrot.
What about A Trick of the Tail?

EDIT: Ah, Parish had it. Great list, man.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:59 PM
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What about A Trick of the Tail?

EDIT: Ah, Parish had it. Great list, man.
A Trick of the Tail is awesome, but I didn't want to scare him off with Phil Collins. "Squonk" is probably the least-runnable song on my running mix, and I'm never removing it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:08 PM
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Phil Collins' Genesis was amazing until he got famous. For my money, A Trick of the Tail and the non-sludgy half of Wind & Wuthering are the band's best albums, period. Much respect to Peter Gabriel, but once he left the group's sound became sharper, tighter, and more accessible, but the music was still beautifully composed and instrumentally complex.

Then Steve Hackett left and they kind of faded away, although I love Duke to bits.

My list was more or less skimming the surface of prog, which is really all I've ever done. I've recently taken a shine to more obscure groups, but I'm not really sure where to go from here. I've had great luck blind-buying:

Renaissance - Turn of the Cards
Soft Machine - Volumes I & II
National Health - National Health

...all of which I also recommend. But I'm not quite so sold on Caravan and a few others that I've tried out. So... I hope there are some good off-the-beaten-path recommendations soon!
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:57 PM
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Don't forget Jethro Tull's Minstrel In The Gallery! That's one of my favorite prog albums that gets a lot of listens.

Oh man, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. That album is confusing and makes next to no sense to me, and yet I greatly enjoy listening to it while working.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:49 PM
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Should I mention the Cardiacs here? Not really prog in the usual sense, but it's a bit like they've taken the proggish elements of bands like Genesis, VDGG, Gentle Giant, etc, and then ground them up in some kind of post-punk woodchipper. Come to think of it, they probably wouldn't even describe themselves as "prog". Actually, fuck it. Just watch the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vP1r1DCz6w

I was in that crowd, somewhere. Pretty much as close as I've come to an actual religious experience.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:51 PM
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Parish's list is stellar and his comments re: Phil-era Genesis are spot on. A Trick of the Tail is my favorite album of theirs, overall. I also think Gabriel's music got better after he left the band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodar View Post
Listen to King Crimson. Court of the Crimson King is a given...snip...the final track of Red is also pretty amazing (Starless), the rest is just decent.
This is backwards, in my opinion.

Calories, you already listen to prog, because you listen to Mastodon.

As a metal fan, bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Mastodon, and Dream Theater can scratch that itch. Personally, a lot of the prog that the pedants point to these days bores the hell out of me. Part of the reason that King Crimson is such a favorite for me is that they have a more aggressive bent, in general, than things that come out of the more orchestrally influenced bands.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:31 PM
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It warms my heart to see so many thumbs up for my list. You folks are good people.

I have had a hard time enjoying Dream Theatre. My problem with them is that they sound so sterile. All precision and noise, no soul -- when King Crimson is living proof that you can have precision, noise, and soul. They suffered from the "super compressed loudness wars" sound a decade before such a thing really existed.

And yeah, the thing about prog rock is that it's a totally nebulous and arbitrary concept. No one actually says, "We are a progressive rock band!" Most bands will fervently deny it. It's like art and porn, I guess... you know it when you hear it. Anyway, there's equally good stuff around prog's periphery, like psychedelia and the Canterbury scene and dreamscapes a la Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield and techno/dance-tinged music like Ozric Tentacles and Eat Static and and and....

Basically, use the recommendations in this thread as a springboard to a huge ocean of amazing music that has been growing and thriving since the late '60s.

P.S., I lied. Actually the best album by Genesis is Seconds Out. Collins performing Gabriel-era and Trick/Wuthering tunes with Hackett on guitar and a drum cameo by Bill Bruford (!) and most of all this amazing production mix that gives every song beautiful clarity yet profound atmosphere. It's the album that made me truly, truly love music. The guitar solo in Firth of Fifth alone is worth the cost of the CDs -- it's been consistently capable of giving me chills every time I hear it for nearly two decades now.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
I have had a hard time enjoying Dream Theatre. My problem with them is that they sound so sterile. All precision and noise, no soul -- when King Crimson is living proof that you can have precision, noise, and soul. They suffered from the "super compressed loudness wars" sound a decade before such a thing really existed.
It just sounds like really long hair metal to me, but I'm willing to chalk it up to being Not My Thing.

RE: Collins-era Genesis, don't get me wrong, I love a lot of it dearly, and the '83 self-titled album is actually one of my all-time favorites by the band, even if they'd totally ditched prog by that point. I just figured the Gabriel-era stuff would be more palatable for a recommendation.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:57 PM
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It warms my heart to see so many thumbs up for my list. You folks are good people.
Here's another thumbs up, then. You covered the stuff I would recommend and a lot more, leaving me with nothing much else to add to this thread.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:01 PM
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Opeth
Surprisingly eclectic. I still like their song Deliverance even though I think it should shed its cookie monster vocals.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:25 PM
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What's a good prog rock album about space?
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:01 PM
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All of them.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:42 PM
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Everything by Hawkwind is about space. Also, "Cygnus X-1" by Rush (from A Farewell to Kings).
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zodar View Post
Listen to King Crimson.
the final track of Red is also pretty amazing (Starless)
That is the best King Crimson song IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
List
Parish's list in general is excellent but I wanted to emphasize his recommendation of Magma, Can and Gong.

Other bands I'd suggest are Comus (their first album), The Art Bears (all of it), Univers Zero (first two albums), and Anglagard (both studio albums).

Quote:
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What's a good prog rock album about space?
If you consider atmospheric krautrock to be part of prog then the best answer to this question is Tangerine Dream's ZEIT.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:57 PM
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Do Mars Volta albums like Frances the Mute count as prog rock? It basically one long song and the end loops back to the beginning, so it's certainly pretentious enough to count. I don't know much about classical prog, but I like Mars Volta's more prog-ish stuff a lot.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:04 PM
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What's a good prog rock album about space?
Ayreon's Into the Electric Castle is about an alien that kidnaps humans from different eras and forces them through a deadly maze of traps to enter and then escape from the Electric Castle in order to study them. Or something. Every character is played by a different vocalist, so it plays as a musical b-movie disguised as prog rock album.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:09 PM
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Also, Comus' First Utterance is my favorite obscure 70's prog album. It's intense, psychedelic folk music inspired by a John Milton poem.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
I have had a hard time enjoying Dream Theatre. My problem with them is that they sound so sterile. All precision and noise, no soul -- when King Crimson is living proof that you can have precision, noise, and soul.
In general, I can't really argue with this. As they themselves said (albeit jokingly), "balls and chunk is where it's at". As a drummer and metal fan, I dig a lot of what they do, but mainly on a rhythmic and aggression basis. They can do melodic things and their Scenes from a Memory album is probably the best at moderating the over the top music as athletic endeavor tendencies.

As far as King Crimson goes, I also have a special place in my heart for Discipline. It showcases both their technical prowess in songs like "Indiscipline" and "Thela Hun Jinjeet") as well as their melodicism ("Matte Kudasai" and "Sheltering Sky").

There are more modern bands out there worth checking out (like the ones I listed plus Umphrey's McGee and vonFrickle), but until you've taken a spin through the touchstones it's not necessarily a priority.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:05 PM
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I can't really bitch about Dream Theater, because the lead guitarist did such a great job of scoring Last Gladiator Pinball and its sequel. Still waiting for Necronomicon on the iPhone, Kaze!

Er, anyway. I guess I was a fan of progressive rock before I even knew what it was, but it's still really hard for me to draw a line between what is prog rock and what isn't. Bands that used to be prog will sometimes go mainstream, and their music will change; sometimes subtly and sometimes less so. Then there are other bands which have some progressive rock characteristics, but fans of the genre will beat you senseless if you dare to refer to them as prog. Queensrhyche is one example. Is there any absolute definition of what progressive rock is, or is subject to personal interpretation?
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:29 PM
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Is there any absolute definition of what progressive rock is, or is subject to personal interpretation?
This is a question that will lead to the downfall of nations.

Everyone has their own definition of what is and what isn't prog. There are signatures of prog such as odd time signatures or complex song structures, but ultimately it really doesn't matter. Like I said earlier, prog is a catch-all term these days for a certain feeling that the music associated with the genre gives off. It's just something that is.

I feel like such an idiot after typing that.
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