Week 5 task: the legacy of Prog!

This week we are looking at the elaborating forms of rock music that were born out of the ashes of the psychedelic countercultural rock. What we’d like to hear is your take on the legacy of progressive rock. Music that tends to be one of the following:
– symphonic in structure
– conceptually driven
– epic in scale
– often lengthy tracks

Are any contemporary artists indulging in Prog or is it still a dirty word? Any musicians still clinging to the notion of high concept music?

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By Rob Jewitt

Module Leader for MED332 and editor of

7 replies on “Week 5 task: the legacy of Prog!”

I’ve added two songs by the New York-based band ‘Coheed and Cambria’. The songs in question are ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3’, from the album of the same name, and ‘The Willing Well II: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’, but quite frankly I could have chosen any from their repertoire.

‘Coheed and Cambria’ (C&C for short) is the brain child of lead singer, guitarist and lyricist Claudio Sanchez. He’s conceptualised a band around the idea of an intergalactic war, known as ‘The Amory Wars’. The music reflects the journey of the two main protagonists (C&C) through this conflict.

Sanchez has taken this further; he’s developed his own accompanying graphic novel of the same title. More here:

The music is all-encompassing, incredibly complex and layered, and varied throughout their back catalogue – therefore I categorise it as ‘progressive’. C&C are also incredible live!

Genuinely fascinating stuff!

Completely forgot to post a comment sorry!

You can guess what my choices were – A Sky of Honey and 50 Words for Snow by Kate Bush.

A Sky of Honey, which is 42 minutes long (it changed my life when I first listened to it) is definitely a hark back to prog rock; a combination of odd elements such as birdsong with piano, strings and fantastic vocals from Kate. It was just incredible hearing this live at her recent live show and what I love is that it is open to interpretation and you can let your imagination do the talking so to speak when you listen to ‘Sky’.

Supposedly one of the executives from EMI visited her in hope of a new album (the Aerial album) and she presented him with a tray of scones instead of an album, another reason it took her 12 years to make Aerial.

Oh how could I forget Bowie and ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust…’? That album is surely an early prog album, i.e. a concept album?

Surprised there was no mention of Bowie in the lecture like.

Oh, I’m a huge Bowie fan so it’s less painful for the students if I don’t prattle on about his majesty… I’d still call him pop other than prog. But yes, conceptual indeedy

A bit late to the party but I do believe that the sporadic nature of prog does still live on in experimental artists like Flying Lotus.

I’ve linked to the first song from his new album (“You’re Dead!”) but the entire album is worth a listen as its whole structure revolves around the concept of what happens after death? and what would it sound like?

Obviously these songs aren’t 15 minute space operas like prog (most of the songs don’t even reach over 3 minutes!) but the notion still stands that FlyLo is experimenting with concept design to his music and its trying to progress genres along from being stuck in the stone age like gangster rap (he even makes Snoop dog bearable in the track “Dead man’s Tetris” which is remarkable in this day ‘n’ age!).

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