Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Reckless Gods Sets New Sound For Eagle|Stallion

22 Sep

With the start of the song heavy on synthetic beats, listeners become drawn into another world crafted by Eagle|Stallion in their new EP called Reckless Gods, in particular with the track Poseidon’s Dead. The whole tempo of the song is overall upbeat, with synthetic drop down tones adding musical variety to the song as well. Typical of a traditionally good EDM beat, listeners want to listen to beat variation, and the synth sound that is so unique to EDM tracks. The unique part about Eagle|Stallion’s EP is that it’s centered about the theme of mythology; citing the out there stories with their equally out there sound. Overall, with the tones of the mythological world and the sounds of Eagle| Stallion, the two worlds collide to form a perfect world.

Departure Delivers A Wave of Emotion Within Gateways

14 Aug

With emphasis on heavy synths and the electric guitar, the track titled Gateways from Salt-Lake City based group Departure’s newest EP called Gateways delivers angst and agony all wrapped within this heart felt song. Lyrics such as “shut the lights off”/” I’m exactly what you think I am”/, you never know how deep my sorrow goes/ all make the listener ride the wave of intense emotion within the tone of the song.  Additionally, the theme of personifying lyrics makes the listener connect even more; “agony has a new face, it looks just like me”. The vocal talents within Departure are strong, drawing similarities to Copeland and the early days of Coheed & Cambria. Setting an impressive mark in the music world so far with opening for Phantogram Neon Trees, Cold War Kids, and many more Gateway is here to stay with their lasting mark within their music.

Native Gold Presents Dualistic Sound In Track Fickle

28 Jun

Native Gold brings their alternative and electronic sound right to the forefront of listener’s ears when listening to their soon to be released EP A Man We All Admire. Fickle sounds very similar to Frou Frou, Menomena, and Radiohead all wrapped in one group. With heavy electronic and static tones to their music, qualities of those groups all seem to find a way through their overall sound to music aficionados. With a progressive and alternative rock feel to the track Fickle, Native Gold presents their sound in a dualistic nature to listeners. Other tracks on their EP, A Man We All Admire, sound equally synthesized, simply highlighting their carved out tone for the continuity among the tracks. An emphasis on the words and meaning of overall fickleness makes the song haunting and intentionally melancholic. Native Gold will bring listeners in another world with their evolving, yet otherworldly sound.

Progressive Art Folk? That is True Cheerful Insanity

7 Mar

Before there was:

The Court of the Crimson King

There was:

The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp

I take it that Giles’ evil grin scared the man on the cover of King Crimson’s debut album. The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp was the project that preceded one of my favorite albumsIn The Court of the Crimson King(which is also regarded as a true LP masterpiece). Well, if their later project was such a success, why was the preview so unsuccessful? Okay, no need to be brash, I have a perfectly good explanation.

Before we go into the story of Giles, Giles and Fripp, I want to figuratively beat a dead horse. That is such an awful expression. On the subject of violent axioms, a few years ago my girlfriend suggested that instead of stating “kill two birds with one stone” in an appropriate scenario, people should say “bake two cakes in one oven” because it is delicious and no birds need to die. I’m getting off topic.

In posts under the Obscure Classic Rock category I have often stated that many bands suffered limited popularity because they created music in the wrong year. The 60s and early 70s were beyond diverse. While it generally takes several years for a particular genre to go out of style, musical inclinations flipped constantly. So while the Electric Folk of the Byrds was considered revolutionary in the mid 60s, a few years and a Jimi Hendrix release later sparked an emphasis on blues-saturated psychedelic rock. Things changed, and when Giles, Giles and Fripp were experimenting with their cheerful insanity, their particular style was not in yet. But it would be, and, with King Crimson, they would reach the pinnacle of success.

Before King Crimson, “I Talk to the Wind” appeared as a Giles, Giles and Fripp demo. Yes, the flute is played by Ian McDonald. Hear the King Crimson in this? Obviously; the song is practically the same. This version is a little poppier and it is also shorter. When King Crimson released their famous debut in 1969, “I Talk to the Wind” did feature a different lead vocalist. Some dude named Greg Lake whose soothing voice is extraordinary. That helped significantly. Also, do keep in mind this song was a McDonald and Peter Sinfield composition (Sinfield was the skilled lyricist who wrote much of the poetry for King Crimson).

Giles, Giles and Fripp was founded when guitarist Robert Fripp answered an advertisement that brothers Michael (drums, vocals) and Peter Giles (bass, vocals) put out for a singer/keyboardist. Fripp was neither. Thankfully Fripp rebelled against the advertisement. He was hired by the brothers and the world was introduced to his eclectic guitar stylings. The London group released one album The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp. It was released in Spring of 1968. In Fall, the band brought on multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and vocalist Judy Dyble (who only performed on a few songs). The band recorded a few demos and then Peter left later that year (he would make a guest appearance on Crimson’s second album). Giles, Fripp and McDonald formed King Crimson (a name suggested by Sinfield), and added Fripp’s friend Greg Lake (a guitarist/vocalist who switched to bass/vocals at Fripp’s request).

King Crimson was formed in November of 1968, made their live debut in April of 1969 in front of 650,000 people in Hyde Park (free concert staged by the Rolling Stones), and then released their classic in October of 1969. That’s a busy year.

Let’s back up, though, before we knew of King Crimson, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, and Peter Sinfield. When the band was only three.The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Frippis an excellent example of an extremely underrated album that was simply released a year too early. The music is adventurous and fresh. A lover of progressive rock can hear several early 70s bands in the eccentric compositions. My favorite track on the album is “Thursday Morning” which I think represents a genre unconquered by many. Progressive Art Folk.

Let me break this genre down. As you know, I am not only an audiophile, but also a pedantic classifier. I know it goes against all things free, but I like typifying music like a biological taxonomist. It’s just my thing. Progressive Rock became extremely popular in the early 1970s but its roots are deep in the 60s with bands like The Moody Blues and The Left Banke. A sub-category (or interchangeable category for some) is Art Rock. Art Rock also fuses elements like jazz, classical instrumentation, and creative hooks, in an attempt to heighten music. It was a clear response to the lack of musical constraints displayed by the preceding psychedelic genre. But Giles, Giles and Fripp were playing a different tune. The music explored Progressive Folk, a sub-movement inspired by the British Folk Revival (think Incredible String Band, Pentangle, and Fairport Convention (Judy Dyble’s band)).

Listen to the melodious strings in the background, easy acoustic picking, and Michael Giles’ folky voice. The canorous harmony is multifaceted and cheerful. It carries the song until around a minute where the listener experiences this miniature solo featuring strings, guitar, and drums. It is a clear ode to classical compositions. Giles’ voice enters our ditty again and so do the precise harmonizers. And just like that, the song ends, but not before leaving a full memory!

Progressive Music from The Hague – Groep 1850

21 Feb

Packed with an awkward family photo

Three months in 1966 sparked the progressive rock movement that flourished in the early 70s and gradually fizzled away (it has been revitalized recently by bands like Dream Theater). Obviously, this statement is completely subjective, so take my opinion for what it is. I also love how the founding year is 1966, and, as you know if you read the blog last week, I will be bringing back Music Court March Madness and we will all vote on the best album released in 1966 in a few weeks.

In May of 1966, The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds, and while this album is an early favorite (and a top seed) in the March Madness poll, it also was one of the first (if not first) Progressive Rock albums ever released.

Progressive Rock features creative arrangements, unusual blends of genres (like Jazz/Rock), eclectic (almost baroque) instrumentation, and classical constructions. The songs tend to be long, drawn out, and excellent if you have the time to lie on your floor, stare at the ceiling, and allow music to seep through your skin.

After the release of Pet Sounds (which most definitely pushed the Beatles even harder with their 1967 release about a pepper or something), Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention dropped Freak Out in June of 1966. This simply added onto Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. Then, in July, The Left Banke, a French-inspired New York baroque pop band, asked Renee to walk away (and a few months later they had a date with a pretty ballerina). The three months represented the inception of this new genre and it allowed a whole new stock of bands to flourish, including a mid-60s act from The Hague. A group of musicians who, while being one of the first progressive rock acts, is widely forgotten – until now!

Wait. A grand orchestral piece based on “Frere Jacques,” the old French lullaby. Back up.

Groep 1850 was formed in the Netherlands in 1964 as Klits. I think you can add them to the list of most influential Dutch musicians. A few others immediately come to mind. Golden Earring and Shocking Blue – you know, the band with the lead singer who proclaimed that she was your “pen” *cough* I mean “Venus!”

The original incarnation of the band is not important because they released their first single in 1966 with these members:  Peter Sjardin (vocals, flute, organ), Ruud van Buuren (bass), Daniel van Bergen (guitar & piano), Beer Klaasse (drums) & Rob de Rijke (bass, flute).  Yes, the drummer’s name was Beer. This line-up would change again in 1968, after the band went on hiatus for a year. Sjardin and Bergen remained, but they were now joined by Dave Duba, Dolf Geldof (bass), and Martin van Duynhoven (drums).

Peter Sjardin was of the first line-up and Daniel van Bergen the second. They can be viewed as constants. Let’s get to the music. The band started playing gigs in ’66 and became an underground sensation, even opening for The Mothers of Invention in 1967. In 1968, the band released their first full-length Agemo’s Trip to Mother Earth (picture above). The album cover actually had a 3-D sleeve and it included 3-D glasses (hence why it is today a tough find and BIG LP sell).

“Mother No-Head,” the esoteric piece above, is on that album. It was also released as the A-side of a single in 1967. In every sense of the word, the song is weird. After beginning with a drum beat straight out of Jazzy big band, and a bass/guitar riff from a spaghetti western, a chorus of monks provide background to a deep, unclear incantation. It’s a Dutch Western. Then a flute introduces something straight out of a cheeky British movie soundtrack before more odd vocalization. At around 1:15, I realized that the monks were humming the French lullaby and this made me smile. Then when a twangy guitar plucked the notes of the lullaby I was just flat-out grinning. This is just great! We get some nice keys before we fall back into the beginning (the fleeting flute still there). Why is the progressive? The flute, creative drumming, intricate track layering, and monk chanting.

Here’s another one from the band. “Misty Night” was the B-side of the band’s first single, released in 1966. This certainly feels more psychedelic (even garage) at the start. We get a reverberating (like SERIOUS reverb) guitar at the outset. I kind of like the vocal – despite the fact it is grunt singing at the start. The song then falls into a lull with the relaxed bass and humming.

Here is some more information about them. Click here.

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