Looking at some of the other ‘Best of 2012’ posts here, you have to wonder how some of the other Progarchists do it. That is, how do they find the time to listen to and fully absorb that much music (and particularly prog)? Not to be snobby or anything, but listening to prog is not a passive thing, it takes an active effort by the listener to fully “get it”. And yet when I read through these posts, I can conclude that my fellow Progarchists are A) listening to a lot of prog, and B) “getting it.” With the other obligations they have in their lives – families, careers, other hobbies, other blogs – it would seem like it would take a superhuman effort to fully absorb all of that music. And yet clearly they do just that.
Alas, I think I’ve figured out their secret – most, if not all of the other Prograrchists are in possession of an ERTEM – short for “Einsteinian Relativistic Time Expansion Machine.” In short, the ERTEM is a machine about the size of a booth or a very small room. A person may enter his ERTEM, shut the door, and emerge in what appears to be only a few minutes to an outside observer. But aaaah, inside the ERTEM, time expands, and the occupant therein can spend several hours of “inside time.” Thus, the Progarchist may receive a new CD or a new album in digital format, step inside his ERTEM, and indulge in hours of listening pleasure, until they fully “grok” (apologies to Robert Heinlein) their most recent prog purchase. They may even be smuggling their laptops in their to write some of their long, detailed, and typically excellent reviews – the type that usually send me lurching toward my computer to make yet another purchase. Continue reading “Some 2012 Thoughts”
One of my greatest pleasures of 2012–and there have been many–has been listening to massive quantities of progressive rock, mostly for pleasure.
Being a literary and humanities guy, I’d contemplated rejecting the entire numerical ranking scheme. Rather, I thought about labeling each of my best albums with various qualities of myth. These albums achieved the level of Virgil; these of Dante; these of Tolkien, etc. But, I finally decided this was way too pretentious . . . even for me.
Below are my rankings for the year. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by any of these choices. I’m not exactly subtle in what I like and dislike. Before listing them, though, I must state three things.
First, I loved all of these albums, or I wouldn’t be listing them here. That is, once you’ve made it to Valhalla or Olympus, why bother with too many distinctions. The differences between my appreciation of number 8 and number 2, for example, are marginal at best.
Second, I am intentionally leaving a couple of releases out of the rankings: releases from Echolyn, The Enid, Minstrel’s Ghost, Galahad, and Kompendium, in particular, as I simply did not have time to digest them. Though, from what I’ve heard, I like each very much.
Third, I think that 2012 has proven to be the single greatest year in prog history. DPRP’s Brian Watson has argued that we’re in the “third wave of prog.” He might very well be right. But, I don’t think we’ve ever surpassed the sheer quality of albums released this year. This is not to belittle anything that has come before. Quite the contrary. I am, after all, a historian by profession and training. The past is always prologue. Close to the Edge, Selling England by the Pound, and Spirit of Eden will always be the great markers of the past.
Ok, be quiet, Brad. On with the rankings.
Like many of you, I “suffer” from the common “problem” that afflicts those of us who are prog fans in this, the Second Golden Age of Prog – mainly, that there is just so much good prog out there that nobody could possibly listen to it all. In short, it’s like trying to drink from a firehouse.
Happily, this “problem” has been exacerbated for me since joining this site, as I have had the good fortune to be able to borrow a number of albums I had yet to hear. As such, I’m going to write a few quick reviews (which are more like first impressions). Please pardon the lack of detail, but do remember these reviews are worth every penny you paid me to write them ;).
The Flower Kings, Banks of Eden: This is my second foray into Flower Kings territory, the first being ‘Space Revolver’ some time ago. I thought the latter album was quite good, and ‘Banks of Eden’ only reinforced my good impression of these guys. Even if there were no other good songs on the album, the hippy-dippy-trippy epic ‘Numbers’ that opens the show makes the price of admission worth it. Luckily, there are other good songs, and thus I would definitely give this album a thumbs up.