01: genesis: horizon's
from the album foxtrot: this is a short solo acoustic guitar composition by steve hackett that clearly shows what a new age fruitcake he is later to become
02: captain beyond: dancing madly backwards (on a sea of air)
from the album captain beyond: one time about 7 years ago i went to in your ear and when i got in the clerks were playing this record that sounded like santana and deep purple jamming on mountain tuneage with no sense of taste or anything. the guys were yukking it up, ranking on the album. when they were done, i went up and said "hey, what was that you were playing there" and they showed me the lp: it had a holographic cover and was $25 -- i bought it to spite them. it fucking still rules, fuck those fucking no-taste jazz-loving losers.
03: focus: spoke the lord creator
from the album ship of memories: this is some weird b-side by the band that is famous for the yodeling tune. i wisely chose an instrumental.
04: procol harum: repent walpurgis
from the album a whiter shade of pale: right, so you have a band with one of the greatest, coolest vocalists in rock history, and i pick an instrumental. i couldn't fit all 18 minutes of "in held twas i" from their classic album (well, classic to me) shine on brightly, but i can't say enough glowing things about this band. the killer guitaring on this song is by robin trower, who looks like a fucking dork but is the coolest guitarist ever.
05: soft machine: we did it again
from the album volume one: what the fuck's up with this song? a lot of their stuff is crappy jazz music, and i hate jazz. but this repetitive shit is ok.
06: hawkwind: sonic attack
from the album space ritual: this is one of the coolest albums ever made; sadly, this is not the most representative track of how awesome this band is. instead, i chose a dorky comic book-y spoken word piece, probably the track that makes people listening who don't recognize the name "michael moorcock" think "uh, ok, never mind, this is crap". what do you think their naked hippy chick dancer was doing during this song?
07: king crimson: larks' tongues in aspic, part two
from the album larks' tongues in aspic: if you like this you should hear part one. i always use the part in "part one" where the thing kicks in to test out the dynamics of a new stereo. "part two" is what you play your metal friends to get them into gay fairy music with pan flutes and shit. it's what got me into prog rock back when i was younger.
08: queen: ogre battle
from the album queen ii: gee, why don't they ever play this one on the radio? the way it shifts from backwards to forwards when it kicks in is pretty genius. google the lyrics sometime and try to figure out the homoerotic subtext of this couplet:
"The ogre men are still inside
The two way mirror mountain
Gotta keep down right out of sight
You can't see in but they can see out"
09: nektar: desolation valley/waves
from the album a tab in the ocean: you still with me here? seriously man, this bad trip goes on for another two hours or so, sorry. i think this song is about, uh, acid. these guys are british but they lived in germany and they released a concept album about taking acid and staring in a mirror for an hour or so called journey to the centre of the eye. or at least that's what i thought it was a concept album about when i listened to the album while staring at a mirror while on acid one time. oh, uriah heep's look at yourself, same concept.
10: emerson lake and palmer: the barbarian
from the album emerson lake and palmer: i tried to find a "bad-ass" song by these guys, because really they get a bad rap but they were really awesome. ok, so this song gets a tad fruity in the middle there, but it at least starts out pretty smoking, and ends pretty smoking. if you like this, def. check out tarkus, a concept album about a half armadillo/half tank, take that dr. octagon.
11: tangerine dream: sunrise in the third system
from the album alpha centauri: this is like when your middle school went to the planetarium and they turn the lights out and then ten years later when you try acid you go "wow, this is just like the planetarium, but without the educational value".
12: armageddon: buzzard
from the album armageddon: this is one of those bitchin' guitar tunes that, in an alternative universe, would have been the centerpiece of the dazed and confused soundtrack. apologies to jws, who put this on his mix last time. i got the album from him, and he got it from this prog dork from our home town. more about him later.
13: hawkwind: master of the universe
from the album doremi fasol latido: ok, this is more like it, that "motorhead covered by flipper vibe" that good hawkwind had.
14: camel: mystic queen
from the album camel: they were pretty fucking fruity and it was hard to find a song that wasn't ten million years long with long passages of serious cheese. if you like this one from their first album, check out their album mirage that for some reason they are able to print without being sued by camel cigarettes, it has an awesome song called "lady fantasy" on it that, for at least 4 of its 12 minutes, is pretty awesome.
15: yes: starship trooper: a) life seeker b) disillusion c) wurm
from the album the yes album: finally, the grandaddy of prog. no one writes songs with "wurm" in the title, why is that? i think steve howe's solo at the end of this song is totally face-melting, but maybe it's just me.
01: premiata forneria marconi: peninsula
from the album jet lag: italy's contribution to the world of prog, and they're like the badfinger of 70's prog since they were the big signing to elp's manticore label. of course you will get no idea what they sound like since all i put on here is a short solo classical guitar piece. oh well, you'll live.
02: rush: by-tor and the snow dog
from the album fly by night: whatever you do, DON'T look up the lyrics for this one, fucking terrible. but an awesome song nonetheless.
03: genesis: the return of the giant hogweed
from the album nursery cryme: this album is fucking mint, esp. this song. first, two hand tapping ten years before eddie van halen. second, it's a song about an evil plant taking over the world, thank you peter gabriel for being so fucking weird! the album has a song about an ancient fountain that turns you into a hermaphrodite, and the cover depicts a young girl with a croquet mallet lopping people's heads off, which i think was a topic gabriel further explored in the song "in your eyes".
04: jethro tull: cheap day return
from the album aqualung: i had initially picked out a number of other mid-70's obscurities but opted for this little tune instead. i think the title is like british for a round trip ticket, do they have to have a different word for fucking everything?
05: pink floyd: a saucerful of secrets
from the album at pompeii: this is from a bootleg of the pompeii movie, which is from '72, i think while they were recording dark side of the moon. if you haven't seen this movie, see it, even if you "hate pink floyd". this sequence especially is fucking crazy. david gilmour in the sitting in the fucking dirt of the pompeii ampitheatre playing with delay pedals while roger waters bangs a huge fucking gong and the drummer dude is going fucking nuts. THIS IS WHAT PROG IS ALL ABOUT FUCK YEAH
06: cargo: cross talking
from the album cargo: thanks again to jws for turning me on to this album, which fucking smokes. i love how rock bands in the 70's were all "groovy", in a good way, even crazy prog dudes. could you imagine sitting through a 9 minute interpol jam? i think not.
07: mahavishnu orchestra: meeting of the spirits
from the album the inner mounting flame: this is one of those bands where everyone is a fucking master and they are all so smoking that you can forget how fruity what you are listening to really is. keyboardist jan hammer went on to do the music for miami vice, which i was obsessed with in 7th grade.
08: amon duul ii: archangels thunderbird
from the album lemmingmania: umm, i'm not really sure what to say about these dudes. some german dudes getting high, living in a house, playing some music with guitars, strange lemming obsession running through their stuff.
09: dark: darkside
from the album round the edges: ok, so this is pretty fucking obscure, and relatively lo-fi in terms of 70's hard rock, and a bit rough around the edges, but totally weird and kick ass. this album is pretty fucking blazing.
10: atomic rooster: death walks behind you
from the album death walks behind you: this is one of those weird proto-prog groups that like everyone was a member of. like the l.a. guns of prog. this album is their heaviness move although it's all pretty heavy, compared to, say, the la's or something. imagine if a bunch of modern rockers nowadays were in "jesus christ superstar", i don't think they'd fare as well as the dudes from back then. holy shit, these guys could wail.
11: can: melting away
from the album cannibalism 2: see amon duul, above, but without the lemming obsession. this track is not necessarily very indicative of their sound, they were more indebted to funk than most self-styled prog of their time, which i guess is why the ramones documentary didn't show footage of can jamming out to show what the ramones were, i guess, supposed to come in and make irrelevent. am i the only one who thought that elp footage in that film was pretty jammin'? or the only one that thought "ooh, i have a bootleg videotape of that whole concert?" seriously, i do.
12: dust: ivory
from the album hard attack: some pretty faceless yet killer hard rock/prog. some sensitive moments. the album is worth it more for the frazetta cover.
13: uriah heep: the magician's birthday
from the album the magician's birthday: i don't have much to say about the heep, they're pretty much poor man's deep purple but they fucking jam. but let me instead in this space tell you how i got into prog:
HOW I GOT INTO PROG
so after my first year of college i went home for the summer to syracuse ny and got a shitty job at burger king. i really wanted to be in a band, this was in 1992. everything was all about alternative rock. i was always tapping and drumming on things. one of my co-workers asked me if i was a drummer and i told him no i'm a guitarist. i was lying, i couldn't play guitar for shit. this guy it turns out is a super bass pro, took lessons with some jazz dude for a million years. he owns a chapman stick. what's a chapman stick you ask? look it up and you'll find a new definition for "dorky". Yngwie one of our other co-workers is like "my friend plays drums and he's good" so we hook up with him and start jamming. it turns out that the bassist and drummer are big time prog dorks, and they're talking this and that about king crimson, genesis, yes, etc. i'm like "who, who who". we watch this bootleg video of gabriel era genesis, gabriel has a reverse mohawk and makeup and is playing flute. the guitarist is playing whilst seated. the song is ten minutes long and has a story line that our drummer, larry, has to explain to me. holy shit! then they lend me king crimson's "larks tongues in aspic" and the rest is history, i've been a prog dork ever since.
oh yeah, our band never had a name, we never wrote a song, and larry wrote song after song that were all multi-part mini-operas with names like "Rays of the new dawn" and shit -- we never played them because i was completely inept and larry couldn't play anything except drums. WE SUCKED.