What exactly is Prog-Rock? We break down the musical genre


Even if you haven’t heard the term progressive rock classification, you’ve probably heard the music. It’s the inventive style popularized by Yes, Rush, King Crimson and many others, and which challenges the way we think about rock’n’roll.

King crimson MAURO PIMENTEL / Getty Images

As the progressive name suggests, there is an evolutionary theme involved. Prog-rock is captivating because it is constantly evolving. The fusing musical genre is constantly fighting with popular sounds and the status quo. This can mean anything from merging two unlikely musical styles or playing in an obscure time signature to incorporating weird instruments or stretching a track over twenty minutes.

If rock music was in high school, you would probably find progressive rock kids drawing on their workbooks in arithmetic. It’s a mathematical, cheesy, complex, and deceptively rhythmic genre of music that requires a shrewd understanding of composition. Listen to a classic progressive rock jam, like Yes’s Roundabout, it’s like seeing a genius solve a problem. You can practically hear the inner workings of a brain that’s too big for the usual pop music mold. And these sounds present themselves in unexpected ways, making you re-evaluate your interpretation of rock.

It’s a mathematical, cheesy, complex, and deceptively rhythmic genre of music that requires a shrewd understanding of composition.

The arc of progressive rock is not entirely different from that of modern food. Industrialization has done to wrest what the powerful pop people have done to music. That is, he has rationalized himself to the point of losing his identity. Soon the food and the music would become so stereotypical that it was difficult to distinguish the ingredients or the groups from each other. It all came out of the same factory somewhere.

Then, a movement to improve the taste and the sound of things. The food has reverted to old techniques, freshness and regionality to maximize flavor. Likewise, rock was inspired by classical music and jazz and other structurally involved genres. The idea was to make rock an art form all over again, something we could spin countless times and decipher something new every time.

Mars Volta performing
Mars Volta Frank Hoensch / Getty Images

There’s a new generation taking progressive rock to higher galaxies, led by experimental bands like Suuns and intoxicating bands like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Kikagaku Moyo. A few previous groups, however, have helped set the style in stone and offer intelligent lessons in the elaborate nature of the category.

Here are a few albums to help you understand and appreciate the multi-headed and magnificent beast that is prog-rock music:

De-Loused in the Comatorium by Mars Volta

Progressive rock was well established in 2003 when this record was discontinued by the Texan band who left their massive imprint on the style. Like many prog productions, this album is of the conceptual variety, telling the story of a coma experience induced by a cocktail of morphine and rat poison. The guitar work is steamy and there are noticeable and quick nods to American jazz and traditional Latin music. Like Rush and Tool, the Mars Volta reveals the many additional layers that a great drummer can bring to the genre. And yes, the album cover is awesome, arguably an honorable mention to best talker ever.

Yesterday by Yes

Almost all of Yes’s records show a key facet of progressive rock. The beauty of Yesterday is its ability to show off some of the band’s most innovative works, which weren’t harvested for an album until years later, after everyone realized their absurd brilliance. It also opens with an incredible cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s America, giving the familiar track the full progressive shake-down.

In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson

This 1969 release helped define the emerging progressive rock scene. Bringing together blues, symphonic music and the darker, sullen side of psych-rock. The record seems to go in two distinct directions, on an organic path led by classically inspired woods and structures as well as directly into the heart of the psyche via shrewd work of electric guitar, mellotron and a bit of surrealism. Many of the biggest names in rock refer to this album as an influential star.

Pink Floyd’s wall

While The dark side of the moon is his own masterpiece, the blatant anti-compliance of The wall and his approach to the concept album make him the gold of prog-rock. It was almost too much to deal with in 1979, as many initially criticized the record for its egocentricity. But the album turned out to be a wise and relatable tale of stardom traps, in the embodiment of a two-disc in the tone of rock opera. It revealed another side of Pink Floyd, a band that apparently could do anything.

2112 by Rush

Most of us know what the late and talented percussionist Neil Peart was capable of. This 1976 record talks about it and more, showing the Canadian band’s instrumental mastery and appreciation for science fiction. Inspired by writer and philosopher Ayn Rand, the album traces an ultra-authoritarian futuristic world in which the state controls everything. It’s a spooky story that comes to life through extremely sophisticated and spacious rock sounds and fantastic treks led by changes in the weather and scintillating solo work.

AEnima by tool

The best thing about Tool’s best album is that it shines a light on the more aggressive side of progressive rock. The Los Angeles quartet is typically grouped together in the metal section with a band name that in the 90s became synonymous with backpack patches and counterculture. Yet Tool always took the more complicated and less traveled route. This record is like a giant classical composition, plugged into massive piles of amps and launched into the ether with incredible force.

Editor’s recommendations

Source link


Leave A Reply