Neo-Prog Sampler: A Report...

So, my older brother Ray (Hey, Ray) gave me a CD compilation, called NPS: NEO-PROG SAMPLER. For those of you who may not know, Neo-Prog would be a shortened version of Neo-Progressive Rock. A newer form of Prog Rock, if you will. Now, I don't know why I really explained that, as Ray is really my only documented reader (hey, Ray), with the exception of one young lady who replied to my Porcupine Tree plea, over a month ago. Speaking of Porcupine Tree, can you say "Neo-Prog"? Sure neighbor, I knew you could.

Anyhow, Ray (hey, Ray) wanted a report on the disc, so let's get on with it. First band up...

THE REASONING: I like the sound of this band, including some great piano work. You don't get a lot of piano in the newer Prog Rock. At least that which graces my ears. Now, I was just looking at their bio on Last.fm, which Ray introduced me to. (Hey, Ray). It seems as though this band is British, and features a guest appearance by Steve Rothery of Marillion. Now, the one mystery that I need to answer, is that of Gareth Jones, the keyboard player of the band. There was a guy named Gareth Jones who produced early music by Depeche Mode. Could it be the same guy? If anyone knew keyboards, it would be the producer of DM, right? And British? Hmmm. Yeah, I really like the sound of this band. Not overly "technical", like so many Prog bands become. A-HA!! Like any Interweb savvy guy, I decided to go to www.thereasoning.com, and check it out. And lo and behold, the first album ever purchased by Mr. Gareth Jones, was REM's, "Automatic For The People". So, either Gareth hadn't ever purchased music, while producing seven or eight albums by Depeche Mode, or, it is another Gareth. I'm going with the latter. Now, on to...


RIVERSIDE: This band was formed early this decade, in Poland. Poland seems to be a hot bed of Prog Rockers, if you ask my humble opinion. Maybe that is just because I have a live CD of Porcupine Tree that was recorded in Poland. Or maybe it is that I have heard two different Prog bands from Poland. Way to go, people... fight the urban myth that Polish people aren't that smart by creating some of the most thought provoking music! Anyhow, this band is also a really good listen, not overly technical, and quite melodic. Definitely for fans of Marillion or Yes. Two of Ray's (hey, Ray) favorite bands. Now, just for the record, when I refer to bands being "too technical", think King Crimson. A band I love, but a group that would be apt to fry your brain after a while. Next up...

PURE REASON REVOLUTION: Another British Prog band. Before I go on, I ask this question... why can't the American's consistently put out quality music like the Brits? And apparently the Polish? Or is that Poles? Anyhoo... I also enjoy what I am hearing from this band. Energetic hard Rock, melodic, well produced. What more can you ask for? Not much, I say. Both songs Ray provided for me are very engaging. Oh, hey Ray... Next up...

SPOCK'S BEARD: Firstly... WOW, A BAND FROM L.A.!! The American's have it, after all!! What am I saying? Two words, people... DREAM THEATER. So, Spock's Beard. First song on the compilation, "Thought's Pt. 2". I hear Yes. Lots of Yes. From the vocal harmonies, intermingled with some very interesting, and quite technical (GOOD technical) instrumentation. One thing that this sampler proves to me. Neo-Prog, or ANY Progressive Rock is NOT the best music for dancing. Try it. Prove me wrong! Another thing about Spock's Beard, is that they were formed in 1992. That makes them the old men of this sampler... at least until we discuss...

MARILLION: Ray (oh, hey Ray) included a couple of live tracks from the band, off of a recent live album. This would be Steve Hogarth (is that his name, Ray?) era Marillion. I was just musing the other day (while listening to this compilation) about how Marillion was kind of the "newbie" Progressive band. Having grown up listening to Yes, Saga, Pink Floyd, etc., they seemed like a younger band. Then it dawned on me that Ray first sent me a copy of "Misplaced Childhood" back in 1985. Thanks Ray. Oh, and HEY! What a fantastic album. 23 years ago, and it wasn't even the first Marillion album. They were three albums in, at that point. And on this compilation, they are the granddaddies. Grandpa (early) Genesis would be so proud!!

So, there you have it Ray. Not a traditional review, but one that I hope entertained. After all, my sole reader, I don't need to tell YOU how good the music is. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I should do the same. Do a little sharing. It may not be as progressive, but I'll try to make it worth your while...

Comments

Ray Dahl said…
W00T!
I picked up Riverside's "Rapid Eye Movement." Good stuff. A bit heavier than most of the stuff on the NPS disk, but really good.

Glad you liked the disk. I'll try dancing to Pure Reason Revolution this weekend. I suspect I'll end up standing in a corner and swaying.

Hmmm, come to think of it, that is all I ever do when I dance.

;-)
Brent said…
Zeke--

For a couple of months now I've been thinking that I should get you some Spock's beard music--for me it's been like discovering Porcupine Tree, I haven't really listened to anything else. And much like Porcupine Tree this band hit a point in which their music became considerably harder--Seen well in the difference between the album V that you mentioned and the 2003 Feel Euphoria album after the departure of Neal Morse. This band has definitely mastered the switch between hard and fast and melodic and psychedelic, and their albums take the listener on a musical journey experiencing a range of emotions. Can't say enough about this band... I've got quite a bit of their music to share next time we meet.