Most people have heard of progressive rock (or prog rock, or simply prog) but the great majority of them treat it with mild disdain (at best) or outright hatred (at worst). Most of the criticism is a mindless rejection based on current trends and a misunderstanding of the genre; “dinosaur” is a common term of abuse, neatly parodied by Adrian Belew on King Crimson’s 1994 album Thrak
There is an increasing quantity of literature on the subject, ranging from the analytical or academic (Edward Macan, Rocking the Classics; Kevin Holme-Hudson, Progressive Rock Revisited) to the fairly straightforward lists (Charles Snider, The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock.) There are also thousands of fans out there who not only continue to attend concerts, but also contribute to a growing network of fanzines and on-line forums. Fans are even served by Prog, a glossy magazine from Future Publishing now in its ninth year, entirely devoted to prog in all its forms
The ProgBlog has been put together to encourage discussion about progressive rock music illustrated by personal observation
The award-winning ProgBlog
The original aim of the blog was to promote discussion about all and any facet of progressive rock but from time to time, bands and musicians contact ProgBlog with new prog-related material that they want to expose to a wider audience; ProgBlog's album of 2017 An Invitation by Amber Foil was one such approach
The DISCovery section has been introduced to better serve the requirements of musicians who contact ProgBlog with the aim of increasing the audience for their music; without music there can be no discussion of music. DISCover some new music here
The ProgBlog Diary
A list of recent past, present and future happenings in the prog world
03 - August 2019
Latest additions to the ProgBlog collection: A Drop of Light – All Traps on Earth (Vinyl); The Life of Spice – Atom Works (CD); Biglietto per l’Inferno - Biglietto per l’Inferno (V); Paganini Experience – LatteMiele 2.0 (V); Abbiamo Tutti un Blues di Piangere – Perigeo (V); Storie di Uomini e Non - Rocky’s Filj (V); The Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold – Paolo Siani ft. Nuovo Idea (V); If it’s Real – Zonder/Wehrkamp (CD)
17/7/2019 Transitions released by Malcolm Galloway
Apart from heading Hats Off Gentlemen it’s Adequate, Galloway has released a series of contemporary classical/minimalist albums. The fifth, Transitions, is comprised of three tracks, two of which include intricate interlocking and interacting patterns and the other is a slow, contemplative atonal contemporary classical composition with a peaceful resolution. Transitions is available from https://malcolmgalloway.bandcamp.com/
18/7/2019 Porto Antico Prog Fest, Piazza delle Feste, Genova, Italy
ProgBlog ticked off another two classic progressivo Italiano bands from the ‘must see’ list at this year’s Porto Antico Prog Fest. Struttura & Forma began proceedings, an outfit formed in Genoa in 1972 that didn't release an album until 2017. Though it was possible to discern some complex, jazzy prog, they suffered from mixing problems, as did second act Giorgio 'Fico' Piazza Band, the original PFM bassist playing material from the first three Italian PFM albums. Despite difficulties with the sound, this was a hugely enjoyable performance with a gifted set of young musicians: Marco Fabbri (The Watch) on drums; Eric Zanoni on guitar and vocals; Giuseppe Pema and Riccardo Campagno on keyboards and vocals; later joined by Annie Barbazza on acoustic guitar and vocals for a little bit of early King Crimson. This was another link to Greg Lake after Struttura & Forma’s cover of Lucky Man – Piazza’s bass guitar was given to him by Lake and Barbazza, a keen student of the early progressive rock movement, was a guest musician at Greg Lake’s performance at Piacenza in 2012 (later released on the specially resurrected Manticore Records) and at the request of Lake himself, sings on the legacy album Moonchild – A deep journey into the music and poetry of Greg Lake.
The first of the acclaimed 70’s bands of the evening was LatteMiele 2.0, the current version of Genoa’s Latte e Miele who were formed in 1971, launching their new album Paganini Experience with incredible violin provided by Elena Aiello, a graduate of Genoa’s Conservatorio Niccolò Paganini, and the link to Latte e Miele provided by bassist Massimo Gori who joined the group when the original trio reformed in 2008. My only gripe is that at times there was a lack of rhythmic invention in contrast to the overwhelming musicianship on display. Rather like on Passio Secundum Mattheum they also managed to include material previously utilised by ELP.
Headlining were La storia dei New Trolls, the nearest I’m likely to get to see New Trolls, with Vittorio De Scalzi leading a talented band through a set list spanning beat-era material to Quella Carezza della Sera, a distinctly non-prog song from Aldebaran (1978) that is probably the group’s most famous song and evidently featured heavily in the soundtrack of the lives of many of the audience. My favourite pieces were the excerpts from Concert Grosso no.1 but with the exception of Quella Carezza della Sera, the entire set was thoroughly enjoyable and though my New Trolls collection is fairly limited (Concerto Grosso nos.1 & 2, Searching for a Land and UT), I did recognise a decent proportion of their set. Congratulations to Black Widow Records for putting together such an enjoyable and successful evening of first-class prog, and thanks to all my friends from Genoa who continue to educate and entertain me.
12/8/2019 The Warp/The Weft to release their third album Dead Reckoning as a download, to be followed by a vinyl edition at a later date. The Warp/The Weft blend traditional and avant-garde styles, ending up with a something between progressive folk and psychedelia. While the poetic lyrics of A Sun-Filled Room, the first single from the album calls to mind the solo work of a young Peter Hammill, Shane Murphy’s lilting tenor is a defining feature and puts the songs in a bracket also inhabited by Family and Pavlov’s Dog. More details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/TheWarpTheWeft/
16/8/2019 Norway’s Moron Police will release their long-awaited third album A Boat on the Sea on Mighty Jam Music
Though not strictly prog, adventurous listeners should find something of interest in a band whose career has seen many strange twists since they formed in 2008; they’ve played live with a full-piece orchestra and even performed on a small island with a lighthouse, trapped in the maw of the ocean.
The new album is catchy and adventurous pop but retains an undercurrent of Scandinavian melancholy. There are huge choruses, rampant guitar play, inventive synth work, a plethora of time-signature changes, somehow coming together as a cohesive whole. Perhaps its most defining feature is that it sounds like Moron Police. Find out more here: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moronpolice/ Spotify: https://sptfy.com/moronpolice
29/7/2019 ProgBlog would like to welcome a new member to the team, Stefano Amadei, guitarist from Genoa-based symphonic prog band Melting Clock, who specialises in prog metal. Stefano has been listening to the recent release by Zonder/Wehrkamp If it’s Real
Zonder/Wehrkamp, also known as ZW, consists of drummer Mark Zonder (Fates Warning, Warlord) and multi-instrumentalist and singer Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery.) Zonder joined Fates Warning in 1989 for Perfect Symmetry, a release subsequently regarded as a seminal prog metal album; Wehrkamp was recruited to Shadow Gallery in 1993 prior to their sophomore release Carved in Stone (1995). They have a history of collaboration and have appeared on many of the same records and following a tour together in 2014 they set about crafting If it’s Real under the ZW banner, the fruits of a working relationship spanning 20 years. Though associated with prog metal, If it’s Real has a more melodic, ethereal sound, a result of the duo challenging themselves to step outside of their own self-imposed boundaries and expectations. Self-released on 24th May, it’s an introspective record, described by Wehrkamp as tracing the journey of the human condition through an array of emotions ranging from painstaking pitfalls to glimmers of hope.
Stefano’s review can be found here