Do you have something to say about Prog...
...and would you like to submit it as material for this blog, apply for membership at the ProgRockin blog planning Google group.
Recent Comments

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bright Ambassadors Of Morning stole my trebles

Pure Reason Revoluton, I like them mainly because of the clever vocal-arrangements.
When they cancelled their gig at Progpower Europe I was quite disappointed, but now I had the chance to see them at a local venue. Knowing not much more than their debut album, I didn't expect much, as the cd sounds rather plain and sort of easy listening, and I did not expect them to pull off the same vocal work as on disc.

The bigger surprise it became!
Starting the gig with some early to mid 80's sounding keybards and keyboard bass, the show seemed to be something like a positve and 'happy' version of Depeche Mode. Soon the guitar came to a more prominent place in the music, more agressive parts got played like Steve Wilson does in Porcupine Tree, the vocals raising to their full power, all the fine harmonies and canon style achived live, wow! 20 minutes after the show started I realized that I got tears in my eyes, couldn't stand still, had to groove all the way through. The show started quite solid and increased to full power in about 35 minutes to full fire works, volume at 10 (11 would be too much, I prefer to still hear the drums...), then they switched back one gear and played tunes with more complex sound structures. One should mention that the band is sort of a gathering of multi-instrumentalists, lead singer-keyboardist-guitarist, female vocalist-bassist-keyboardist, guitarist-vocalist and drummer.
In the meantime the guitarist plays his solos kneeing on the floor for adjusting the knobs of the many effect processors live. Again, like Steve Wilson did back in the days.
I'm not annoyed that, including encores, the gig was only 90 minutes long, knowing how young the band is, and the few people in the audience. however, I felt like a Shikansen hit me and took me to Berlin, sticking on its very front, in that time. All those landscapes flying by at lightspeed...

They truly have the potential to become big! A formula like: {positive depeche Mode x Porcupine Tree + self}  comes to mind.

Back home I wanted to end the night with one more beer and a bit of the most recent PT recordings. I gave up. No trebles, it has been gone. I didn't notice what an earbleeder the gig was.... ok, one beer, no music anymore.

wishes for the band:

1. a second microphone for the lead vocalist. It simply is a time-waster to always adjust the tripod when switching from keys to guitar and back.

2. a better stage clothing for him. Complaining about that warm lamp while wearing the most tasteless leather jacket is stupid.

3. Bring that dynamics of your live sound to disc! Whenever somebody says it is too exhausting for the common listener, tell him you're not about to do easy listening.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Have a Cigar, dear boy, and listen to The Sound of Muzak.

Back in 2007 Hanson (yes THAT Hanson) released a 12-part documentary filmed during the making of their album "Underneath" which saw them leave their major label Island/Def Jam due to frustrations with the label in the making of the album. In the end the band started their own indie label and have been releasing albums on it since then.

The documentary is a warts and all detailing of trying to make an album in the major label environment when the label wants to exert pressure on the band to make a "radio hit". It's VERY revealing and candid and even if you HATE Hanson (and fair play, I don't like them either) but if you ever wanted to see the ugly side of making a record for a major label and just the making of an album this is worth a look.

Part 1 of 12 is down below. I'm only a few "episodes" in, it's really great and quite revealing. I really hope nobody here (or anyone, really) never have to go through that....

Also, for a class of mine I had to create a "protest poster" (see above) about any particular issue. I chose the music industry. The documentary I linked above is a great example of all of the shit and horrible things that happen in the industry. Personally, I'm of the belief that the major labels need to fall and hard. Call it karmic justice, but their insistence on sticking with outdated business models and their tendency to rip the artist off for 80, 90 percent of the profits is just flat-out wrong. It really disheartens me to see these pigs in control of the music industry. Pink Floyd said it best 30 years ago - it's a machine, and always has been. Now, I am not at all advocating downloading music illegally. Supporting artists, especially small and independent ones is the right thing to do, without question. But when buying CDs and going to shows is only supporting the middle man, how can we support bands? With the current recession, the boom of downloading, the "loudness war" and the mp3 trend, increasingly manufactured pop music with Auto-Tune all over the place, it's no wonder how the industry got to where it is today. It needs to fall so it can be rebuilt from the ground up. Maybe in 50 years we'll see the same cycle, but for right now we cannot allow this to continue. They said home taping was killing music, and that downloading was killing music, but it's not killing the music, it's killing the industry. And the industry is killing music.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We do abuse music

I decided to post this as a new article though it is a direct reaction on Sean's because this is to strong in my mind for just doing a comment:

Do you remember those news printed on paper everyone used way back? I still use them because you can read them wherever you are, without the need of a monitor or display and internet connection.
One or two months back I read in a small article in one of those that the company Muzak went bankrupt. That company's product has the same name; aka elevator music or warehouse music.
It is said that music makes people friendly, peaceful, yet happy, so playing music in a warehouse lightens up the customers mood and they'd purchase even more - was their claim.
This is a tragical simplification in my opinion, because nobody ever had the idea that one's mood might turn bad if he doesn't like the music he hears.

Back in the 80ies, when I once purchased some car spare parts and queued up at the cash point I realized at a certain moment that my spirit was slowly changing into bad mood. I realized that I wasn't the only one whose mood was darkening, a couple of other people were doing the same thing. I was a strange effect to me and I was wondering about that for about 5 Minutes. Then I noticed that a speaker was dabbling out the most crappy Bavarian folk music at an almost inaudible loudness. I said to another - in the meantime quite angry - dude: "Hey I think it's that almost imperceptible music torture that makes me so angry. It took a bit to find that out." That guy stared at me, froze for a moment or two and smiled at me when saying that "this really is the worst music I ever had to bear!" Luckily the emotion in our part of the queue was back to positive, now that we had found out the evil that happened to us.

Back a few years from now, the warehouse music wasn't a single event anymore but a pestilence, we went for some speaker cables to an electronic shop. Still being in a rather good mood - emotionally dumb for sonic pollution - my friend said to the salesman: "That indeed is some nice crappy music you guys have playing there." The salesman switched from good manners to aggression instantly. "Yes and it is in here ALL FUCKING DAY LONG!!!" we were trying to be nice guys but man, that went wrong....
So much for the general music-does-people-good idea.

Well so, folks, look around, errr... listen around! Music is everywhere. Everywhere!
I mean, when I was a teenager it was so unimaginably cool to have that walkman playing music while cycling through the city! But that was long ago.
Today wherever you go there's muzak. If McDonald's, Burger King, SFCC, any store, SUBWAY STATIONS!!! TV jingles, sweepers, shows, serials, documentaries, - even news! movie, games, yet websites.
Really, what would a website of a warehouse chain be without muzak!!
Where else... wait loops, cell phones, ipods, car radio, car docking station, wifi, itunes, the list seems endless.
I fear opening a can of beans, muzak could be inside!
Do I need a psychiatrist?

Isn't it any wonder that one blunts about music? It is a sonic pollution, yet violation today how music is abused and sprayed at us. How can something so omnipresent be of worth for the common man? Even gold would be nothing of worth if it were available everywhere endlessly.

I'm no more one of those people carrying an ipod everywhere, ripping cds to itunes and using the computer for listening to music.
I want my gems stored in shelves (that's what they are for - the shelves of course...), grab the jewel case, open, insert, play, sofa, listen, read/watch booklet (damn is this font supposed to be read? What's the song title???), be happy!
I tune in to progulus when I actually want to listen to random prog goodness.
I refuse to have music playing right now because yesterday we've been at a great Asia gig ( where 150 - 200 progulus flyers went away, not one ending up on the floor!), and a little session afterwards - because silence is golden.

Sean, the Cartasis demo is great! Hope to hold the cd in my hands soon!