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Thread: Prog rock from around the globe

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    Captain of Water Music Art Rock's Avatar
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    Prog rock from around the globe

    Outside the UK (and to a lesser extent the USA), there is plenty of excellent prog rock to be found. Please post in this thread some suggestions, with a recommended album or song. I'll kick off with a song I just added to my list of (now 605) favourite songs.

    ISRAEL - ASHQELON QUILT
    Song: The well (2001, 11:25)
    Undoubtedly one of the least known bands in my list of favourites. The Israel trio Ashqelon Quilt so far only released one album: The Event, which clearly shows influences from late seventies and early seventies prog rock. Most of the songs on the album are accomplished but not outstanding, but the closer is a real stunner. The epic The well starts off innocently enough as a pop song with a memorable melody, but soon the keyboards and later the electric guitar are taking control, turning the tune into a far more progressive feel. In a beautiful sudden transition, a piano solo introduces a waltz-like interlude, that again gives the keyboards a chance to shine. Another great transition, this time courtecy of inspired flute play, precedes the return of the original theme, but now in a neo proggish rock version to great effect. Another switch of mood introduces a space-rock style interlude, followed by a great new theme sung in a bit Porcupine Tree like style. This slowly transcends into an increasing instrumental cacophony, which you would think would end the song - but then the first theme returns in its poppy format to close the epic out. All in all, a stunning song, original in spite of some clear influences, and one that matches the quilt part of the band's name perfectly.

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    Ensign, Principal Deeru Piotr's Avatar
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    I'd like to recommend Triana a fantastic prog band from Spain, specially the first record from 1975 El Patio (something like the yard). Their career ended in the early eighties because the singer keyboard player Jesus de la Rosa died in a car accident. Their music was a excellent mix of flamenco and prog rock and songs like El lago o BulerĂ­as are among my favourite music of all time

    hope you like it Triana - El patio (1975)

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    Thanks for that recommendation, will check it out!

    JAPAN - SHINGETSU
    Album: Shingetsu (1979)
    Without doubt one of the major finds of the year 2006 for me was the late seventies' album Shingetsu by the Japanese band of the same name (Shingetsu is Japanese for New Moon). A fantastic symphonic prog rock masterpiece, evoking Genesis in some of their instrumentation, but still very much their own sound, not in the least due to the use of Japanese vocals. The opening track is the strongest on the album and an absolute masterpiece: a rocking tale of the demon Oni, with haunting melodies and a star role for lead singer Makoto Kitayama. The other tracks are well worthwhiel as well. Highly recommended to every one who loves melodic seventies' prog rock.

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    CHILE - LOS JAIVAS
    Song: La poderosa muerte
    This is a song that I had heard about for quite some time, but which I finally managed to get hold of in 2006, thanks to fellow blogger RockThirsty. The Chilean band Los Jaivas recorded a large number of albums in their unique style, blending symphonic prog music with local folk instruments like the Andean pipes and hand drums. Their best album Alturas de Macchu Picchu (The height of Macchu Picchu) features their best song, the fascinating epic La Poderosa Muerte (The powerful death), which shows plenty of musical variation as befits a prog masterpiece. Lead singer Gato Alquinta has an outstanding voice, and the use of the Spanish language adds to the emotional approach of this band.

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    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster Progger58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deeru Piotr View Post
    I'd like to recommend Triana a fantastic prog band from Spain, specially the first record from 1975 El Patio (something like the yard). Their career ended in the early eighties because the singer keyboard player Jesus de la Rosa died in a car accident. Their music was a excellent mix of flamenco and prog rock and songs like El lago o BulerĂ­as are among my favourite music of all time

    hope you like it Triana - El patio (1975)
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    CHILE - LOS JAIVAS
    Song: La poderosa muerte
    This is a song that I had heard about for quite some time, but which I finally managed to get hold of in 2006, thanks to fellow blogger RockThirsty. The Chilean band Los Jaivas recorded a large number of albums in their unique style, blending symphonic prog music with local folk instruments like the Andean pipes and hand drums. Their best album Alturas de Macchu Picchu (The height of Macchu Picchu) features their best song, the fascinating epic La Poderosa Muerte (The powerful death), which shows plenty of musical variation as befits a prog masterpiece. Lead singer Gato Alquinta has an outstanding voice, and the use of the Spanish language adds to the emotional approach of this band.
    I will second these, both awesome indeed.

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    GERMANY - Neuschwanstein
    Album: battlement
    German prog is usually associated with kraut rock, but they have also had their share of symphonic prog. One of the best albums is the only one by the band Neuschwanstein (1978). If you get hold of this one, make sure you do NOT judge this amazing group on the first song. Loafer Jack is in itself a reasonable folk-influenced song, but it is nothing special. The rest though sounds like a fantastic blend of Genesis, Camel and Marillion. On most tracks the singer indeed sounds like a clone of Peter Gabriel, although in some tracks I'm reminded more of Fish (who came to prominence after this band recorded this album). Really exquisite flute playing (reminding me of Camel's Andy Latimer more than Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson), great keyboards, overall good amd some really outstanding compositions. This is an album that every prog lover should at least listen to. And if you love Seventies' Genesis and Camel, you sure will love this.

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    POLAND: Riverside
    Albums: Out of myself/Second life syndrome
    The first two albums of Polish prog rock giants Riverside are amongst the best albums of the century so far. Their sound, influenced by bands like Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Tool and Opeth, is often classified as prog metal, but that does not quite fit. Their first album includes the great song The same river, which starts intriguingly with the sounds of searching for channels on an analog radio, with snippets of discussion and music and a stunning short appearance of the Eagles' Hotel California. When the music starts, the amazing guitar play immediately recalls one of the band's main influences, Pink Floyd. Seven minutes of instrumental introduction go from space rock to prog metal, showing off Porcupine Tree as an inspiration, before the lyrics finally start, with excellent singing and once more amazing guitar work, this time more in the neo prog style of Hogarth's Marillion or IQ. A great epic for the 21st century, and in spite of the names of other bands mentioned very much their own work. The title track from their second album, Second life syndrome, is their best effort so far, unashamedly epic in proportions, with gorgeous guitar work, and a theme that befits this decade: people who flee their lives into the Second Life on the internet.

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    Captain of Water Music pnoom's Avatar
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    Some avant/zeuhl recommendations:

    Japan:

    Happy Family - an excellent Zeuhl band with similarities to Eider Stellaire but a lot more manic. Start with Toscco.

    Koenjihyakkei - a reviewer for alternative press has labeled them as the greatest modern band. While I can't quite agree, the "Japanese Magma" is certainly worth checking out. I recommend starting with Angherr Shisspa.

    Daimonji - another Japanese Zeuhl band, another project of Yoshida Tatsuya (also of Koenji), another producer of great music. This is live improvised Zeuhl with a member of Bondage Fruit and and a pop keyboardist. Out there, but great. Into a Blind Alley is their best so far (of two).

    Ruins - Yoshida strikes again. Merging hardcore punk, Zeuhl, and just about everything else, this band epitomizes the power duo, with emphasis on POWER. While not representative of their discography, Symphonica is probably the best entry point, followed by Pallaschtom or Vrresto.

    Bondage Fruit - Japanese Zeuhl is unrivaled in modern music. Bondage Fruit is another product of that fertile scene. I've only heard their first, but it's really good.



    France:

    La Societe Des Timides A la Parade Des Oiseaux - imagine a bastard mix of post-punk explosions a la This Heat, dadaism similar to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, the post-rock/metal-ish structures of Kayo Dot, and then forget all that and just listen to their 2006 masterpiece, Tranches De Temps Jete.

    Magma - can't mention France without it's greatest band. They founded Zeuhl. Enough said. Start with Kohntarkosz or Live/Hhai

    Art Zoyd - a brilliant group, part of the extended Rock In Opposition movement. They started out playing dark chamber music similar to Univers Zero and are now experimenting in electronic minimalist horror soundtracks. Start with Haxan for the latter era and Musique Pour L'odyssee for their chamber-prog days.

    Chene Noir - Nurse With Wound list. This is music made to be acted, but it translates surprisingly well to just musical format, full of an intensity I've not seen very often. Start with Aurora.

    Etron Fou Leloublan - another Rock in Opposition band. Really quirky, really fun, with staccato starts and stops on the drums augmented by crazed vocals and terrific sax. Groovy! Start with Les Poumons Gonfles.




    That's all for now, more later.

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