Archive for August, 2000

“Morally and intellectual superior”

Thursday, August 10th, 2000

I’m excited: there’s a new Godspeed You Black Emperor! album coming soon. Double LP on Constellation, double CD on Kranky. If it’s anywhere near the quality of their last release (the EP Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada), I will be a very happy person.

I’ve followed part of the rec.music.classical thread “Our children and music” with interest (man, if you thought rec.music.progressive flamewars were exasperatingly uppity, try this one); there are a couple tidbits from it summarized nicely at josh blog. “…grant me that Beethoven’s Opus 133 String Quartet is morally and intellectually superior to Pearl Jam’s Dopus Whatever…” This guy has a serious stick up his ass. The sick thing is, there are plenty of people like him: if you thought prog-snobs were grossly elitist, check out classical music snobs. Jesus. A mild (no, really) example from a few days ago:

“If I were a rock listener, I would have them forcibly detain me, shut me in a cell and play me enough classical music until I saw the errors of my ways. Do unto others….”
— “John” on rec.music.classical

Interesting reading on this topic: Lawrence Levine’s Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America.

Cast and neo-prog in general

Wednesday, August 9th, 2000

I don’t get Cast. The two albums I have are marked by poor production, way too many lyrics, accented singing, and overly lengthy running times. Although they’re certainly not bad by any means, they just don’t do much for me. Hmm. I think the whole poor production thing is what really bothers me about so many neo-prog albums (although, why do I notice it so much more if the music is neo-prog?): albums like Iluvatar’s A Story Two Days Wide, Discipline’s Unfolded Like Staircase, and any Cast releases would be so much better with improved production.

I was browsing ProgressiveWorld today and realized how damn good that site is. I like to think of it as a commercial counterpart to Ground & Sky: the reviews are of more commercially-oriented prog albums for the most part, though G&S branches into pop- and neo-prog somewhat, and ProgressiveWorld doesn’t attempt to branch a into more avant stuff. Despite that, the design is great, and the reviews are good.

It’s interesting how, because of the group of reviewers I brought together at the birth of this site, the reviews archive tends to lean towards the more avant/difficult side of prog. More than most sites, anyway. This is changing slowly these days thanks to guys like Jon Fry and Gary Varney - though they may not like neo-prog as much as a ton of people out there, they still know a helluva lot more about it than, say, I do, or Bob Eichler, or Dominique Leone. It is a Good Thing that we now have a more diverse body of reviewers, though I get the feeling that G&S will always tend to be biased towards more experimental stuff, due in no small part to my own personal opinions.

Here we go…

Tuesday, August 1st, 2000

Taking a page out of Bob Eichler’s book, I’ve decided to listen to all my albums in order, alphabetically by title. I also hope to review each prog-related one as I go through them, but I don’t know if I’ll do all of them (I hope to, but we’ll see). Unlike Bob, I’m only listening to my CDs, not my parents’ or my brother’s. :) This being about 450-500 albums, I imagine it’ll take me a few months, as I plan on allowing myself to listen to new purchases and such in the middle. So, to start with, I’ve got these with me today at work (I started with Magma’s 1001º Centigrades last night):

Discus and Höyry Kone at ProgDay 2000! Damn! If only I could get out of school for that weekend, fly down Saturday, see the Sunday show, and fly back late Sunday. That’d be perfect, but alas… funds are a problem. Mostly because I’ll be flying my girlfriend (who is in a perfect location to see ProgDay, since she goes to Duke University in Durham, NC) up to see me the following weekend. Oh well, life is a series of tradeoffs… :)

Just received a copy of the latest issue of Big Bang, a French prog magazine. They used my photos from NEARfest in their review of the festival. Came out pretty well, though I can’t read the article since the whole zine is in French. Looks like a pretty good publication to me, actually. (Much better than its website, anyway.)