Found this idea while listening to many new Progressive Rock tracks. From oldies to new things, I listened to a dozen albums (it’ll be another article), until something materializes…
…between four “poles”, inside a square, showing me what I seek in this music.
The first pole is Esthesis. A very clean sound, changes, interesting instruments. But there’s a weakness, a strange one: chords and harmonies are static, and they are… simple. And if they change, it’s to come back immediately into “simple”.
The second pole is Dream Theater. Take any track. It’s fast, powerful, always changing, fireworky (listen loud!). But they build nothing! Watch the drummer…
It’s “complicated water”. No taste, bland, nothing-music, only energy. Technicians virtuosity, “things”…
The third pole is Fish on Friday. Suddenly more… comfortable. Much more quiet, like the first group, almost bland. But, like in the last Pink Floyd albums, they know something about giving pleasure harmonically.
It’s a good little thing. Like a petit four.
The fourth pole is Flower Kings. A 27-minutes piece where they try to build something. Forget the nincompoopy lyrics, go to 20’20”, and watch them building something. They have pleasure! The bassist knows how to wait or accelerate. The drummer is present (instead of pattering like an idiot). And at 23′, the infinite modulante Puccini-esque crescendo gives me goosebumps.
Well this is a square, a four-points machine, a structure. You can study poetry or photography, love or sex, anything with that.
Each one has advantages! A good glass of water is great. Dancing on big DJ music is cool. Enjoying a complex whisky in winter is perfect. Having a 6 hours conversation with someone who likes it is fantastic.
But everywhere, a little tenderness, OK?
Merry Christmas, thanks for reading!
Complex Tasty “too much too much more more I like it” example:
“Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” is a Paul McCartney’s song from the album RAM (1971). Here’s a little text I found on songfacts :
McCartney combined pieces of various unfinished songs to create this; in the later years of The Beatles, they did this a lot as a way to put unfinished songs to good use. As a result, “Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” contains 12 different sections over the course of its 4:50 running time. This jumble of musical textures, comic character voices, sound effects and changing tempos turned off a lot of listeners, but many others thought it was brilliant. The song wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but in America it became McCartney’s first #1 hit as a solo artist.
Oh, lovely, isn’t it?
I love this song, because it prevents you from drowning after one minute of a “cool seventies slow” with noises, surprises, changes. A big smile gets bigger all along : “Is Macca silly?”. Yeah!
There’s a famous Medley at the end of the Beatles album “Abbey Road”. McCartney says that they wanted to create a sort of “opera structure”. Lennon despised it, though. It’s considered today as one summit of the group.
When you listen to that (structure, noises, guitars), you think about Pink Floyd, who created in the Seventies like the epitome of this structured, fractured tracks sticked together in long classical-music-like “movements”.
Some examples : Pink Floyd “Pigs” (11 mn), Supertramp “Fool’s Overture” (11 mn), Genesis “Firth of Fifth” (9 mn).
The pleasure is bigger than the juxtaposition of tracks, you get pleasure in transitions (closing door, opening door), in contrasts, you get it in subsequent modulations, you build like a “little travel”, like through the rooms of a big surprizing house…
Lennon is funny, when he says it’s a very practical to dispose of music you don’t know what to do with!
Lennon is COOL because he uses this game, in a fractal way, in other songs like Did A Pony, sticking words together (like Dylan, he says) to see if something appears, AND sticking two different song together to make a new song.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juxtaposition : Throughout the arts, juxtaposition of elements is used to elicit a response within the audience’s mind, such as creating meaning from the contrast, an abrupt change of elements. In film, the position of shots next to one another (which montage is) is intended to have this effect.
So here we are, on the path of Progressive Rock! But there are differences. Prog rock wants to build long pieces – maybe with “parts” -, and they are damned serious!!
McCartney and The Beatles constructions are more like… medleys. This + this + that. And they have fun!