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Music Tarkus Posting: So Its Come To This: A Prog Rock Appreciation Thread

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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What do we think team?
 

Dardan Sandiego

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As an aside, it's also a good album but it was a great time for music anyway. They should make another 70s, I liked the last one.
 

jnWake

i have 50 characters and i'll use them, all of 'em
I love 70's prog rock but I could never truly get into ELP, and I'm a keyboard player! Dunno, it just doesn't vibe with me.

That said, Tarkus is my favorite album by them.
 

Clov

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As an aside, it's also a good album but it was a great time for music anyway. They should make another 70s, I liked the last one.

Side A (Tarkus) might be my favorite thing ELP had ever done! Not a big fan of side B at all, though.

I have Phos to thank for getting me into more music, I don't think I would have listened to this otherwise! ...though I might have just based on how good the cover is.
 

JazzPotatoes

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I love 70's prog rock but I could never truly get into ELP, and I'm a keyboard player! Dunno, it just doesn't vibe with me.

That said, Tarkus is my favorite album by them.
I'm with you on this.

Love me some classic prog, but ELP never gelled with me. I like prog bands that combine massive chops with either good melodies and hooks (Classic Yes) or just go all out in being weird and artsy (King Crimson). ELP always struck me as neither one nor the other.

That being said, maybe it's worth giving Tarkus another listen.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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I'm with you on this.

Love me some classic prog, but ELP never gelled with me. I like prog bands that combine massive chops with either good melodies and hooks (Classic Yes) or just go all out in being weird and artsy (King Crimson). ELP always struck me as neither one nor the other.

That being said, maybe it's worth giving Tarkus another listen.
Yes and King Crimson are obviously superior bands yeah, but I love ELPs over the top style. Their albums are very uneven, but I would say the good stuff is:
The entire 1st album
Tarkus side A
Trilogy Side B
The Karn Evil 9 suite from Brain Salad Surgery

Also, I used to be a staunchly anti-prog hipster, but since actually listening to the music, I extremely love it. My favorite bands so far are King Crimson, Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Van Der Graff Generator, Gong, ELP, and Yes (I would argue Yes is just as uneven as ELP).
 

jnWake

i have 50 characters and i'll use them, all of 'em
Yes and King Crimson are obviously superior bands yeah, but I love ELPs over the top style. Their albums are very uneven, but I would say the good stuff is:
The entire 1st album
Tarkus side A
Trilogy Side B
The Karn Evil 9 suite from Brain Salad Surgery

Also, I used to be a staunchly anti-prog hipster, but since actually listening to the music, I extremely love it. My favorite bands so far are King Crimson, Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Van Der Graff Generator, Gong, ELP, and Yes (I would argue Yes is just as uneven as ELP).
I have to agree on Yes, another fan I'm not a super fan of. They have a looooot of nice moments but I'm not a huge of fan of listening to 22 minute epics for those 3-4 minutes that I really like...

I recommend Gentle Giant from that era as well. They're a little weird but pretty cool.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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I have to agree on Yes, another fan I'm not a super fan of. They have a looooot of nice moments but I'm not a huge of fan of listening to 22 minute epics for those 3-4 minutes that I really like...

I recommend Gentle Giant from that era as well. They're a little weird but pretty cool.
Gentle Giant is great. Big fan of Octopus, wish less of their albums had hideously embarrassing artwork.
 

JazzPotatoes

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Yes peaked with Close To The Edge. Nothing before or since by them comes close, and their attempts to try and top it are self indulgent nonsense ( see: Tales of Topographic Oceans).

I'd put Genesis on the same shelf. Their highs are extraordinarily high (Selling England By The Pound) but they also drifted towards more and more self indulgent albums that really needed judicious editing.

Other recommendations:

Mike Oldfield: He's known as the Tubular Bells guy, but his entire 70s output is extraordinarily. Ommadawn is a monumental album, and Hergest Ridge is a fantastic proto-ambient record. Incantations is a bit weird, but it's entire fourth side is an absolute banger.


Jethro Tull: Again, anything from the 60s or 70s is probably a good listen (though Passion Play can be a bit much). Stand Up, Thick As A Brick and Heavy Horses are the three best, in my opinion.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Yes peaked with Close To The Edge. Nothing before or since by them comes close, and their attempts to try and top it are self indulgent nonsense ( see: Tales of Topographic Oceans).

I'd put Genesis on the same shelf. Their highs are extraordinarily high (Selling England By The Pound) but they also drifted towards more and more self indulgent albums that really needed judicious editing.

Other recommendations:

Mike Oldfield: He's known as the Tubular Bells guy, but his entire 70s output is extraordinarily. Ommadawn is a monumental album, and Hergest Ridge is a fantastic proto-ambient record. Incantations is a bit weird, but it's entire fourth side is an absolute banger.


Jethro Tull: Again, anything from the 60s or 70s is probably a good listen (though Passion Play can be a bit much). Stand Up, Thick As A Brick and Heavy Horses are the three best, in my opinion.
Close to the Edge is indeed an unassailable masterwork. Fragile before it is good but uneven, Topographic Oceans is a bloated mess, but Relayer and Going for the One are perfectly fine.
As for Genesis, Tresspass, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, and Selling England by the Pound are a fantastic, though personally Foxtrot is my fave. Supper Ready is my favorite prog song over all probably (the Japan only compilation I have has thr Bside dedicated to Suppers Ready and I Know What I Like, which is amazing). Still need to listen the The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
I love Tubular Bells, but should check out Oldfields other works. I've heart Tubular Bells 2, which is fine but extremely 1992, and The Millennium Bell, which is dog shit.
I've yet to listen to Tull, their name has always put me off, but I should amend that.
 

JazzPotatoes

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I haven't listened to LLDoB in years, but I remember it being hard work. Again, when it hits it absolutely slaps, but there's a lot of bloat in between the good bits

That being said, a lot of Genesis fans say it's their best album, so what do I know.

Also going to throw a shout out to King Crimson's 80s trilogy of albums. Their 70s stuff is rightly revered, but I think Discipline, Beat and ToaPP are all just as good, and they had a huge influence on the later math rock and modern prog genres. Shorter songs, but much more intricate use of time signatures.



 

JazzPotatoes

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I'll also add off the back of my last post: while I understand prog isn't for everyone, I do think the music industry was a lot more interesting back when it was at it's most popular. Yes, you had disco and easy listening dominating the charts, but you also had prog bands going to Number 1 with multi part fantasy epics, you had the birth of the heavy metal movement (which in many ways is tied in with prog), you had whatever the heck Zappa was doing... Even big mainstream rock bands weren't afraid to get a bit weird and experimental during that time period

Tldr: a healthy prog scene isn't just good for prog, it's good for other genres too, as it encourages experimentation and free thinking.
 

Clov

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I appreciate that the thread has been retitled "Tarkus Posting". That's something I aspire to do everyday.

Anyway, while I love a lot of their longer songs, I can't help but love Cat Food by King Crimson. It's so catchy! The single's got some great art, too.

Ni01OTAxLmpwZWc.jpeg


What a funny old cat!
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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I'll also add off the back of my last post: while I understand prog isn't for everyone, I do think the music industry was a lot more interesting back when it was at it's most popular. Yes, you had disco and easy listening dominating the charts, but you also had prog bands going to Number 1 with multi part fantasy epics, you had the birth of the heavy metal movement (which in many ways is tied in with prog), you had whatever the heck Zappa was doing... Even big mainstream rock bands weren't afraid to get a bit weird and experimental during that time period

Tldr: a healthy prog scene isn't just good for prog, it's good for other genres too, as it encourages experimentation and free thinking.
Yeah, the hard backlash against prog by the punks and the post punks was unfortunate. I love a lot of that music, but its too bad that so much interesting/cool music gets dismissed out of hand.
Also, I've been working through King Crimson chronologically. Just got to Larks Tongues, and that Album rips so hard.

My King Crimson Power Rankings so far

1. In The Wake of Posidon (a bold choice, but also I'm right)
2. Larks Tongues in Aspic
3. In the Court of thr Crimson King (would be higher, but Moon Child sucks ass)
4. Islands
5. Lizard
 

JazzPotatoes

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Yeah, the hard backlash against prog by the punks and the post punks was unfortunate. I love a lot of that music, but its too bad that so much interesting/cool music gets dismissed out of hand.
Also, I've been working through King Crimson chronologically. Just got to Larks Tongues, and that Album rips so hard.

My King Crimson Power Rankings so far

1. In The Wake of Posidon (a bold choice, but also I'm right)
2. Larks Tongues in Aspic
3. In the Court of thr Crimson King (would be higher, but Moon Child sucks ass)
4. Islands
5. Lizard

Jesus, you haven't even got to the good stuff yet.

Red is an all-time great album. It's doom/grunge decades before those genres were a thing, and just filled with absolute classics. Red is one of the best album openers in history, and Starless one of the best album closers. (Interesting note: Radiohead blatantly borrowed the middle section breakdown from Red to use as the opening to OK Computer. Once you hear it, you can't unhear it)

After that, you've got Discipline, and if you can go with the stylistic left-turn that it takes compared to their 70s output, that album will change you. It's easily my most listened to Crimson record - This is where the band dives headfirst into polyrhythmic grooves, and every band member gets to show off what a monster they are while still playing as part of a tight collective. You've got Bill Bruford writing the textbook on drums for every prog drummer that follows, Adrian Belew proving himself a monster guitar player, and Tony Levin bringing a goddamn Chapman Stick to the party.

If you dig Discipline, then Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair continue mining that stylistic vein, before the band takes another break and you get to their 90s output.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Jesus, you haven't even got to the good stuff yet.

Red is an all-time great album. It's doom/grunge decades before those genres were a thing, and just filled with absolute classics. Red is one of the best album openers in history, and Starless one of the best album closers. (Interesting note: Radiohead blatantly borrowed the middle section breakdown from Red to use as the opening to OK Computer. Once you hear it, you can't unhear it)

After that, you've got Discipline, and if you can go with the stylistic left-turn that it takes compared to their 70s output, that album will change you. It's easily my most listened to Crimson record - This is where the band dives headfirst into polyrhythmic grooves, and every band member gets to show off what a monster they are while still playing as part of a tight collective. You've got Bill Bruford writing the textbook on drums for every prog drummer that follows, Adrian Belew proving himself a monster guitar player, and Tony Levin bringing a goddamn Chapman Stick to the party.

If you dig Discipline, then Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair continue mining that stylistic vein, before the band takes another break and you get to their 90s output.
I have heard Starless and can confirm it's a total banger. I've heard that their last 3 70s albums are especially good and so far Larks Tongues is proving that. The only ones I didn't like were Lizard (mostly bad, a couple of highlights) and Islands (solid but a bit sleepy and stretched thin feeling).
 

JazzPotatoes

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Crimson are so good that they were consistently a decade or two ahead of everyone else. 21st Century Schizoid Man is basically a thrash metal song, before metal had even been invented as a genre.

I'm also going to throw out a mention to Magma. They're fucking weird and incredibly pretentious, but they also wrote some incredibly atmospheric and clever music. Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh is a hell of an album.

 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Crimson are so good that they were consistently a decade or two ahead of everyone else. 21st Century Schizoid Man is basically a thrash metal song, before metal had even been invented as a genre.

I'm also going to throw out a mention to Magma. They're fucking weird and incredibly pretentious, but they also wrote some incredibly atmospheric and clever music. Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh is a hell of an album.

I need to get into Magma.

My off the beaten path suggestion would be Van Der Graaf Generator. Definitely the darker, harder edged side to prog. Kinda weird that they and Yes are considered part of the same sub genre.
 

jnWake

i have 50 characters and i'll use them, all of 'em
Seems I'm a bit alone on the Genesis camp, I love basically all their output and my favorite album by them is probably Duke, I just really dig the weird prog/pop vibe of that album.

Since this is now more of a general prog. rock thread I'm gonna mention 3 more bands, not from the 70s:
  • Marillion: Much more pop than prog, but they have some really really good long songs.
  • Big Big Train: They're basically a modern version of early Genesis.
  • Spock's Beard: Part Gentle Giant part Genesis, a classic of 90's prog rock.
 

JazzPotatoes

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I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe.
 

shoptroll

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Tarkus is the best Dancing Mad tribute 🙃

Also there’s a certain irony in this thread getting started after the Alexander’s Ragtime Band podcast announcing they’re winding down :(


It was an informative show as a prog neophyte who’s only osmosed the genre through classic rock stations and JRPG music. I need to do some deeper dives into some of the classic acts but I would definitely say I’m a fan of the genre at this point.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Tarkus is the best Dancing Mad tribute 🙃

Also there’s a certain irony in this thread getting started after the Alexander’s Ragtime Band podcast announcing they’re winding down :(


It was an informative show as a prog neophyte who’s only osmosed the genre through classic rock stations and JRPG music. I need to do some deeper dives into some of the classic acts but I would definitely say I’m a fan of the genre at this point.
I will extend a hand to Alexander's Ragtime Band!
Also impossible to overstate the influence of prog rock on Japanese game music.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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...What is Tarkus?
Part 1: Eruption

Part 2: Stones of Years

Has the dawn ever seen your eyes?
Have the days made you so unwise?
Realize, you are.

Had you talked to the winds of time,
Then you'd know how the waters rhyme,
Taste of wine,

How can you know where you've been?
In time, you'll see the sign
And realize your sin.

Will you know how the seed is sown?
All your time has been overgrown,
Never known.

Have you walked on the stones of years?
When you speak, is it you that hears?
Are your ears full?

You can't hear anything at all.

Part 3: Iconoclast

Part 4: Mass

The preacher said a prayer
save every single hair on his head
he's dead

The minister of hate
had just arrived too late to be spared
who cared

The weaver in the web that he made

The pilgrim wandered in
committing every sin that he could
so good

The cardinal of grief
was set in the belief he'd be saved
from the grave

The weaver in the web that he made

Part 5: Manticore

Part 6: Battlefield

Clear the battlefield and let me see
All the profit from our victory.
You talk of freedom, starving children fall.
Are you deaf when you hear the season's call?

Were you there to watch the earth be scorched?
Did you stand beside the spectral torch?
Know the leaves of sorrow turned their face,
Scattered on the ashes of disgrace.

Ev'ry blade is sharp; the arrows fly
Where the victims of your armies lie,
Where the blades of grass and arrows reign
Then there'd be no sorrow,
Be no pain.

Part 7: Aquatarkus






Any questions????
 

merp

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Part 1: Eruption

Part 2: Stones of Years

Has the dawn ever seen your eyes?
Have the days made you so unwise?
Realize, you are.

Had you talked to the winds of time,
Then you'd know how the waters rhyme,
Taste of wine,

How can you know where you've been?
In time, you'll see the sign
And realize your sin.

Will you know how the seed is sown?
All your time has been overgrown,
Never known.

Have you walked on the stones of years?
When you speak, is it you that hears?
Are your ears full?

You can't hear anything at all.

Part 3: Iconoclast

Part 4: Mass

The preacher said a prayer
save every single hair on his head
he's dead

The minister of hate
had just arrived too late to be spared
who cared

The weaver in the web that he made

The pilgrim wandered in
committing every sin that he could
so good

The cardinal of grief
was set in the belief he'd be saved
from the grave

The weaver in the web that he made

Part 5: Manticore

Part 6: Battlefield

Clear the battlefield and let me see
All the profit from our victory.
You talk of freedom, starving children fall.
Are you deaf when you hear the season's call?

Were you there to watch the earth be scorched?
Did you stand beside the spectral torch?
Know the leaves of sorrow turned their face,
Scattered on the ashes of disgrace.

Ev'ry blade is sharp; the arrows fly
Where the victims of your armies lie,
Where the blades of grass and arrows reign
Then there'd be no sorrow,
Be no pain.

Part 7: Aquatarkus






Any questions????
I... guess I'll start with those songs first?

Thanks.😜
 

JazzPotatoes

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The best part of getting into prog is when you hear 15 minutes of free improv, neoclassical, reggae, gamelan and hard rock and think "Huh, that's an interesting mix of songs" then realize you've just listened to the opening part of the first song.

It's the musical equivalent of heading down the elevator in Elden Ring.
 

Clov

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To help give @merp some context, Tarkus (Side A) tells the story of Tarkus, the creature depicted on the cover of the album. Tarkus is born in a volcanic eruption and fights several monsters. Eventually it loses a fight to a manticore that blinds Tarkus in one eye. Tarkus reflects on the futility of war, before deciding to go live in the ocean, now known as "Aquatarkus" (though some interpret Side A's finale as the death of Tarkus, and the birth of a new being known as Aquatarkus).
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Burn a bridge and burn a boat
Stake a lizard by the throat

Lizard by King Crimson is perhaps the weakest of their 70s albums, but it is undeniable thar both sides of the records start very strongly.
 
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JazzPotatoes

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Listening to Ommadawn once again.

It's such an incredibly atmospheric record, even moreso when you remember that it was recorded in 1975, back when most studios had a maximum of 16 audio tracks available for recording. Tubular Bells is more iconic, but I think Ommadawn is peak-Oldfield. Whereas other 70s prog acts were more focused on chops and time signature changes (and there's nothing wrong with that), Oldfield's focus was always on composition, pacing and atmosphere. In that sense, he has more in common with composers like Philip Glass or Steve Reich than prog acts like Yes.

Its a record that isn't afraid taking it's time moving from one section to another, but when the changes do come, they hit hard.

The guitar solo at the finale of Part 2 might be my favourite guitar solo ever.

 

Krvavi Abadas

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This thread reminds me of how the Halo 2 soundtrack featured an entire 27 minute suite of prog rock composed by the band Incubus, split into four seperate parts across the album.

(somehow this was the only youtube upload that merges them together. )

only the first movement was actually used in-game, and it (alongside the other licensed track by Breaking Benjamin) was partially removed in the Anniversary remaster. only playing if you're using the original graphics.
 
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Phosphorescent Skeleton

Phosphorescent Skeleton

It feels like I'm in a fairytale
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Listening to Ommadawn once again.

It's such an incredibly atmospheric record, even moreso when you remember that it was recorded in 1975, back when most studios had a maximum of 16 audio tracks available for recording. Tubular Bells is more iconic, but I think Ommadawn is peak-Oldfield. Whereas other 70s prog acts were more focused on chops and time signature changes (and there's nothing wrong with that), Oldfield's focus was always on composition, pacing and atmosphere. In that sense, he has more in common with composers like Philip Glass or Steve Reich than prog acts like Yes.

Its a record that isn't afraid taking it's time moving from one section to another, but when the changes do come, they hit hard.

The guitar solo at the finale of Part 2 might be my favourite guitar solo ever.

I should check this out, love Tubular Bells.

How do you feel about the Tubular Bells sequels (2, The Millennium Bell, 3)?
 
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JazzPotatoes

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I should check this out, love Tubular Bells.

How do you feel about the Tubular Bells sequels (2, The Millennium Bell, 3)?
Tubular Bells 2 is great, though a bit dated. Oldfield was really into his digital instruments at that time, so while the music itself is superb it doesn't have the timeless quality of the original. Higher highs than TB1 though, definitely.

Tubular Bells 3 isn't as great, felt a bit more like an Enigma record than anything else. That said, Far Above The Clouds absolutely slaps.

I'd say Tubular Bells, Ommadawn and Amarok make a more consistent trilogy of albums than the official sequels. Amarok is the most out there of the three, but it's also just an insanely strong composition.
 


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