Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prog - A Primer

Regular readers have probably scratched their heads (or rolled their eyes) when I prattle on about "prog," aka progressive rock. It's my favorite type of music, but it peaked commercially the year after I was born, so it's not exactly well known these days. If you've ever been genuinely curious about prog, this article wouldn't be a bad place to start. A taste:

'Progressive', for those innocent of its glories, was a label originally applied in the 1960s to any music that sought to extend itself beyond the safe, conservative format of the commercial pop song.

Only later, when contracted to 'prog', did it become the brand name of a particular sub-genre of avant-garde rock music, characterised by ambitious lyrical conceits, extended feats of musical virtuosity and lengthy songs, culminating in the now much-derided 'concept album' (an entire LP exploring a single narrative or theme). It owed its genesis (as it were) to a unique, and probably unrepeatable, combination of circumstances.
It is, often, as the liner notes to Ain Soph's A Story of Mysterious Forrest put it, "not dancing music, but basically music for listening to." And that's why it rocks, in its own way.

1 comment:

RedZeppelin said...

It's funny that you're posting that article. I've been really getting into APP's I, Robot lately and wondering what other similar-sounding stuff I could find.

I have a strange affection for prog. I love APP but I don't like Yes and I despise ELP.