Progression

Might sound like a cliché, but progression is the only constant in life, and this is especially true in music. In fact, incessant change is the norm in prog. For instance, Dream Theater used to define progressive metal. But it’s safe to say that benchmark is now comfortably buried — under layers of odd time signatures, robotic precision and polyrhythms.

But change is also an obvious broader pattern, manifesting over time and at numerous levels.

Both artists and their listeners tend to evolve, often in different trajectories. We are all simply wired differently and more importantly — we constantly learn. At least most of us do. In that sense, it’s also impossible to listen to the same song twice – because each iteration would be perceived through a slightly different neural filter.

Nothing illustrates this more than going back and listening to our decade old favorites. This will inevitably reveal a new facet to the very same sound, something which was never obvious before. Essentially, artistic experiences tend to forge new sets of mental connections, and this way we progressively develop our own individual palate.

A fellow metal-head and a Progarchy reader had recently managed to summarize her own progression, and that also in just about six artists. This sort of prompted me to jot down and share my own seven song list. Needless to say, Powerslave to Funeral Fog took a few years.

A View

There may possibly be some readers who still don’t know that, as well as being editor and chief contributor to Progarchy, Dr. Brad Birzer has also written lyrics and created concepts for two progressive rock albums. This is a track from the latest  album Of Course It Must Be. You can explore more of Brad’s work at http://www.birzerbandana.bandcamp.com

Roie Avin, ESSENTIAL PROGRESSIVE ROCK ALBUMS (Book Review)

avin book
Avin’s latest, ESSENTIAL MODERN PROGRESSIVE ROCK ALBUMS.

Yes, I want to break into song.  I just recently rewatched THE SOUND OF MUSIC with my two oldest daughters.  I’d forgotten what a great joy the whole movie is, and how satisfying it is that the family outwitted the Nazis.  As their followers, the alt-nuts grow in audacity in America, I hope the descendants of Captain Von Trapp continue to thwart their efforts.

What does any of this have to do with Roie Avin’s latest book, Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums: Images and Words Behind Prog’s Most Celebrated Albums, 1990-2016 (phew—what a title!!!) you ask?  Ok, a legitimate question.

However, I can answer it simply, if not somewhat goofily.

Books and prog?  Well, these are a few of my favorite things!  Imagine how great it is when there are books written about prog albums and prog albums written about books!  Heaven.  Pure, heaven.  Almost as good as dancing across the Alps with the family Von Trapp!

Continue reading “Roie Avin, ESSENTIAL PROGRESSIVE ROCK ALBUMS (Book Review)”

The Ultimate Prog Super-Hero Team-Up?

From Big Big Train’s Facebook page:

We are delighted to announce that Robin Armstrong will be joining the live line-up of Big Big Train for our shows in 2018 and beyond.

Robin is a multi-instrumentalist and the leader of progressive rock band, Cosmograf. Nick, Rachel and Greg have played as guest musicians on Cosmograf albums and we are looking forward to performing with Robin at our shows at The Anvil in Basingstoke and at the Night of the Prog festival in Loreley, Germany.

 

Will the good Dr. Birzer’s head explode anticipating all the proggy goodness to come?

Tune in tomorrow … same prog-time … same prog-channel!

 

— Rick Krueger

New Gazpacho: SOYUZ

KSCOPE607-MOCK-UP
Image taken from the Burning Shed website.

Great news today from Burning Shed.  The forthcoming album from Gazpacho: SOYUZ is now available for pre-order.

I didn’t realize this would be coming so soon.  I’m in the middle of a retrospective of all of Gazpacho’s albums.  This, of course, will be coming to a progarchy website near you.

For now, though, pre-order SOYUZ.

And, now, to wait patiently. . . .

 

In Concert: The Heart of Marillion

Marillion at 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 18, 2018.

Waiting for Marillion to take the stage, my thoughts drifted to the rest of those gathering in this well-appointed concert club.  Why were they here?

Doubtless, there were locals who, when they heard Marillion was returning to Grand Rapids after 20+ years, anticipated pure nostalgia — “Kayleigh,” “Incommunicado,” “Hooks In You,” “No One Can,” fixtures of local rock radio in the early 1990s.  After all, why else would a band with no more than a cult following tour the States, if not to play the hits?

Then there were the hardcore fans, the ones I’d hung with in Facebook groups for a couple of years now.  People from GR, Kalamazoo, and Detroit who’ve traveled nationally and internationally to see the band since their last Michigan stops — some 30, 40 or more times.  The folks who converged on this mid-size Midwestern city from (for example): Bangor, Maine; Hillsboro, Oregon; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Baja, Mexico; and Stoke-on-Trent, England, telling stories of their first Marillion experiences, sometimes stretching back more than four decades.  Not to mention “The Nine,” as they named themselves, who’ve seen every show on the current US tour.   They all have their favorite songs — but they knew that much more was coming than a rote run-through of career high points.

And then there was me — a Marillion fan since Seasons End, but only on my fourth show (still way behind King Crimson and Rush), bringing my wife and two friends for their first experience of the band, ten minutes away from my house.  I couldn’t help but wonder: what connects us?  Why this band?  What’s at the heart of this experience?

mezz preshow

Continue reading “In Concert: The Heart of Marillion”