Member Since: 7/1/2005
Total Mixes: 101
Total Feedback: 224
Message | Friend

Other Mixes By abangaku

CD | Rock - Prog-Rock/Art Rock

It's Time To Look For Somewhere New: The Curse Of The Prog Prince

Artist Song Buy
Genesis  Dancing With The Moonlit Knight [Selling England By The Pound, 1973] 8:04  buy on itunes
Led Zeppelin  Stairway To Heaven [Zo-So, 1971] 8:03  buy on itunes
David Bowie  Ashes To Ashes [Scary Monsters, 1980] 3:38  buy on itunes
Bang On A Can All-Stars  I Buried Paul [Renegade Heaven, 2000] 9:43  buy on itunes
The Beatles  I Am The Walrus [Magical Mystery Tour, 1967] 4:37  buy on itunes
Frank Zappa  Peaches En Regalia [Hot Rats, 1969] 3:37  buy on itunes
Electric Light Orchestra  Mr. Blue Sky [Out Of The Blue, 1977] 5:05  buy on itunes
Soft Machine  Out-Bloody-Rageous (edit) [Third, 1970] 9:41  buy on itunes
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer  Karn Evil 9: First Impression - Part 2 [Brain Salad Surgery, 1973] 4:46  buy on itunes
Sigur R=s  Olsen Olsen [Agaetis Byrjun, 1999] 8:03  buy on itunes
Pink Floyd  The Great Gig In The Sky [Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973] 4:35  buy on itunes
Mr. Bungle  Goodbye Sober Day [California, 1999] 4:29  buy on itunes
The High Llamas  Rotary Hop [Beet, Maize, & Corn, 2003] 5:11  buy on itunes


Clearly, whoever decided it was ever a good idea to shorten "progressive rock" to "prog" must have had a woeful curse in mind. there's no moment in rock history that's more reviled; some among rock's revisionist historians deny the movement's very existence. The Rolling Stone Illustrated Guide To Rock And Roll manages to lump it all under "Art Rock" along with, say, Brian Eno's ambient washes, and then gives it the short end of an already disparaging chapter. What is it about progressive rock that's so reviled, i ask you? and where are the Prog Princes in the midst of all this?? One thing that's for sure: Progressive rock is here to stay, disguised as it may be. Four of these tracks date from '99 or later, and Sigur R=s especially, the pop standard-bearer for something called "post-rock" these days, is a channeler of the spirit of '73 like no true self-respecting macho rock fan (you know, of the Coldplay school) would ever admit. "I Buried Paul", named after a (misheard) line in the truly progressive "Strawberry Fields Forever" of course, doesn't even call itself Rock; it's simply Classical with lots and lots of Rock "influence". Emerson, Lake and Palmer would be proud. So what is it about this style? Have rock music's standard-bearers simply declared their fear of what they believe to be an education? Who in the high court decided they simply couldn't take a dose of the fantastical now and then? Why did the reaction later on in rock history have to be so violent, so negatory, so cynical? What were they frightened of? ... Strip this mix away down to the bare bones of its history and what do we have? Two tracks from the 60's, proto-prog at its finest; five from progressive rock's heyday in the early seventies (and why is *Led Zeppelin* of all bands not considered to be prog... because they were too strong to ignore? because "Stairway To Heaven" could practically be "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight"'s long-lost twin...), two tracks from '77 and '80 that take the original '60's proto-prog impulses in a somewhat different direction from the choice made earlier in the decade, and then the four tracks of the Progressive Revival mentioned earlier, of which "Rotary" (which provides the title of this mix) and "Goodbye" owe as much to ELO as "Olsen" and "Paul" do to ELP, but who's counting any more?? Thirteen tracks total reinforce prog's cursed nature. Of the Heyday tracks, "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" is, for certain, a multi-part suite, yet it's as danceable as they come -- admittedly, perhaps, fostering a lurching, Dionysian dance, but hey -- all the better. it's also a perfect opening dramatic gambit: it's the first track on Selling England By The Pound, and i'd venture to say that whoever it was on this site who decided not to use opening album tracks as opening mix tracks hasn't heard "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight". "Karn Evil 9 (blah blah)" is a *part* of a multi-part suite that's really a great pop song by itself, despite being saddled with a name that sounds like a line from a tax return; it's the ELP song that starts "Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends", for you doubters. The 19-minute "Out-Bloody-Rageous" isn't neatly divided into sections on the Third album, so i used my computerial trickery to extract basically the first of its three parts (and also got rid of some near-silence at the beginning). The other edits on this mix are: an elimination of several seconds of silence at the end of "The Great Gig In The Sky", and a fadeout for "Rotary Hop". This mix was inspired by the MOJO Magazine Prog Rock special edition, one of the only treatments of the subject i've ever seen that's not simply snarkily derogatory, and a good-enough Prog Rock education to boot. Strangely enough, tracks 2, 3, 7 and 10 on this mix are thanks to my classic rock-loving friend John, of my "Tyromaniacs' Guide To Rock" mix... clearly his impulses are in the right place.
image for mix


Dead Man
Date: 8/25/2005
I appreciate your comments and the obvious care you took in making this mix. Your sentiment is right on the mark and I've been thinking about what you wrote since I first ran across it yesterday. I'm not sure how to answer your question about why prog rock has such a bad reputation. Perhaps it's that rock and roll has always been anti-intellectual and prog rock has always cultivated an intellectual image. Or maybe you're onto it with your comments about Karn Evil 9 (blah blah)--why didn't ELP strcture their albums as pop songs? Most of them would work on that level, but that had to go and try to get all serious in ways that came across as pompous. Having said that, Brain Salad Surgery was one of my fave albums as a kid, although my first ELP album was the 3-LP live album and I played it a lot. Actually, many of the older picks in this mix were in my collection then. Punk was really exciting and probably contributed to the intensity of prog rock's bad reputation. But good music is good music, and I'd really like to hear this mix. Care to trade?
Date: 1/24/2008
Wonderful. I like to think that listening to prog-rock is akin to a spiritual quest - it's more 'difficult' and in that way more lasting. I also think when you listen to Fripp or Eno you in a sense absorb some of the philosophies/thinking systems that informed and continues to inform their work. Fripp was/is(?) inspired by J G Bennett and Eno was/is(?) inspired by Edward De Bono. Listening to their music is like Cliffs Notes for both of these great thinkers.

You must be logged in to do this.