View Full Version : Prog, Neo-Prog & obscure picks

12-24-2002, 08:06 AM
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a great listening experience!

I have two questions today. First, how would you distinguish Prog from Neo-Prog?

Second, what are five somewhat lesser known Prog albums you like and recommend?

My answer to the second question:
1. Nektar-Remember The Future
2. Strawbs-Hero and Heroine
3. Camel-The Snow Goose
4. Triumvirat-Illusions On a Double Dimple
5. Atomic Rooster-Death Walks Behind You

12-24-2002, 08:59 AM
The Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock (www.gepr.net) defines it as: "symphonic rock done in a typically more simple or commercial format. Also very lush but lacking the complexity of the symphonic bands." This defintion works pretty well for me, but I also feel that most neo-prog bands emphasize a highly-synthesized and highly-produced sound. Whereas many symphonic bands can usually reproduce their sound on stage with the same type of precision as in the studio, I assume (and I am only guessing here) that many neo-prog bands would sound less polished on stage; the definitive version of their music will usually be the studio version.

I can usually distinguish between neo-prog and symphonic prog by listening to the keyboards. Neo-prog keys are the main focal point of the music almost all the time; they get all the hooks and all the memorable melodies. They also tend to be always synthesized; very little piano or Mellotron in neo-prog. This type of keyboard empahsis can be seen in bands like IQ, Jadis, Galleon, Arena, Pendragon, etc.

For the lesser knowns:
1. Somnambulist - "The Paranormal Humidor"
2. Citizen Cain - "Serpents In Camouflage"
3. Van Der Graaf Generator - "H To He, Who Am The Only One"
4. Wishbone Ash - "Argus"
5. Galleon - "Beyond Dreams"

12-24-2002, 08:19 PM
Thanks Powerslave. I've always considered The Who's Quadrophenia and Who's Next as "Neo" prog. Wishbone Ash is primarily a guitar-based band. How would you classify them?

Merry Christmas to all. May samples of ear candy dance in your heads.

12-28-2002, 02:41 AM

I am from Australia and I have been a progressive rock fan for many years. I would like to learn even more about classic prog and maybe even delve into this "neo-prog" that everyone is talking about.

I hope I can make some new friends. PS What is the overall opinion on Van Der Graaf Generator? I have THE BOX, but I find it is very difficult to get into their music. I find it too dark and pessimistic. What do others think? Any recommendations???



12-29-2002, 01:11 PM

Welcome aboard, mate!

Classic Prog deals mainly with a handful of British bands from the late 60s through about 1977-78. I personally consider the Moody Blues' "Days of Future Passed" to be the first Prog album with any significant airplay.

The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper", while not considered Prog by some, is definitely a watermark in recorded music because the recording process contibuted significantly to the development and vision of many Prog artists.

King Crimson's debut, "In the Court of the Crimson King", is a must have. It features Greg Lake (later of Emerson Lake & Palmer), on vocals and bass, Bill Bruford (later with Yes) on drums, Ian McDonald (later with Foreigner) on keyboards, and of course, Robert Fripp on guitars. I believe Greg Lake played most of the acoustic guitars on this album, but I have never been able to confirm this.

The next "must have" album is Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I would be surprised if you didn't already have this one, since it has been on the Billboard album charts longer than any album in history. It is routinely displayed on endcaps and waterfall displays in music retailers every Christmas season. It's the black album with a prism. a beam of light, and rainbow colors coming out the other end.

I have never been very impressed with Van Der Graaf Generator. They did have a tune called Theme One that was all right, and I liked Peter Hammill's solo album called "Fool's Mate". Peter's lyrics are somewhat depressing though.

Be sure to read the thread on top 5 classic prog albums. There are some great lists. Notice bands that are repeated. The top ones include Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, and Emerson Lake & Palmer.

Hope that helps.

12-30-2002, 09:48 AM
Welcome to the boards Andy!

Yes, I would have to agree that Van Der Graaf Generator is pretty dark, but that doesn't mean it's not worth listening to. One of my new favorite albums currently is Radiohead's "OK Computer," the most depressing and saddest collection of songs I have ever heard outside of a Godspeed You Black Emperor! album. But the music is so beautifully done, I can't stop listening to it. My favorite VDGG track, "Killer," falls under the same vein. However, VDGG is a much more acquired taste, I've found. I would suggest you try to download some MP3's of theirs to try out while you search for places to buy albums.

I don't really know if any of The Who's music qualifies as prog or not (or if I've really even thought about it all that much). I've never heard "Quadrophenia" but I'm not sure if "Who's Next" qualifies. I've always thought of that album as just a rock album with keys. To automatically classify it as prog or neo-prog because of that would be similar to saying any band that uses a keyboard is progressive, something I'm sure most prog fans know to be false. In the opposite vein of thought, just because a band doesn't use a heavy amount of keyboards (like Wishbone Ash), they aren't automatically disqualified from being a progressive band.

I first heard of Wishbone Ash from a progressive rock box set I purchased several years ago which had the track "Warrior" on it. The song fit in very well on the same disc as tracks by Yes, Genesis, VDGG, and other lesser known bands. I'll grant that they aren't overly symphonic in their arrangements, but I still think they can be considered progressive.

12-30-2002, 01:08 PM
Responses to a few points from the Program Director:

I would not consider any album from the Who (whom I like quite a lot, BTW) as prog or neo-prog. We may add one or two instrumental tracks from Quadrophenia to the station one day, but that would be the limit of the Who. Some Wishbone Ash is prog, and we already have one album of theirs on the station. I don't personally care a lot for VDGG, but their talent, "prog credentials", and contribution to the genre are unquestioned. We will likely add more to the station, but I intend to be choosy.

Lesser know gems:
FM - Black Noise
Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments
Nathan Mahl - The Clever Use Of Shadows
Djam Karet - Reflections From The Firepool
Finnforest - Lahto Mahkalle

or anything in AM's playlists that you haven't heard!

12-31-2002, 02:40 AM
Thanks for your kind introduction!!!

I would generally agree that The Moody Blues’ DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED is one of the first major progressive rock albums released. In my own personal opinion, 1967 was THE year that prog first burst onto a totally unsuspecting audience. The first major progressive rock albums of ’67 were DAYS, Pink Floyd’s THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, Procol Harum’s debut, and The Nice’s THE THOUGHTS OF EMERLIST DAVJACK.

N.B. Progressive rock is generally thought to be an outgrowth of late 1960s psychedelic music, hence in its early days it has a strong affinity with The Beatles’ late period work. The Floyd recorded PIPER in the next studio down from where The Beatles were finishing off SGT. PEPPER. In a way, it can be seen that The Beatles were “passing the torch” as it were, to the new generation of rockers.

I hate to be a total arse, but Bill Bruford did NOT play on IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING: the drummer in the original Crimson was Mike Giles. Bruford was still in Yes by late 1969.

I am in agreement with you on Van Der Graaf Generator. Their music is very dark. I was going to plunge for at least the first two albums and maybe PAWN HEARTS, but the best stuff is probably on the box set. I like “Killer” and “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers”. By the middle of the second disc of THE BOX, I always lose interest. PS Did you know that “Theme One” was actually written by George Martin (yes, The Beatles’ producer) and was used as the theme for Radio One in Britain in the early 70s? Van Der Graaf released it as a single but everybody thought it was blasphemy!!

Thanks for your input and I hope I haven’t blinded you with science!!!!

See ya,