Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Music's All That Matters (Third Impression)

Many of Stump's preferences (from the 'classic' 70s period) chime with my own: Egg are one of the most underrated groups from the time; King Crimson between Lark’s Tongue’s in Aspic and Red were making some of the most aggressive and exciting music of the period – I would love to have seen one of their largely improvised live shows at that time; Gentle Giant (at least up to Freehand) were one of the most musically arresting and diverse groups featuring counterpoint, polymetry, polyphony and hocketing (‘in which a phrase is arbitrarily broken up into cells of one, two or three notes’). He also gives space to more radical avant garde groups such as Henry Cow and includes the numerous European epigones like Focus and PFM.

I also share his positive opinion of early pastoral Genesis, that soon benefited so much from Steve Hackett’s more acerbic and effects-laden guitar, but his rubbishing of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (in my view this incarnation’s high point) I find inexplicable.

Like Stump, I still think that Relayer is the best Yes record, the one that even the most committed Yes-hater might possibly warm to; Patrick Moraz was a far more jazzy, hard-edged and risk-taking keyboard player than Rick Wakeman and some of the group playing on The Gates of Delirium sounds genuinely unhinged, (pity about Jon Anderson’s ‘arseholes’ mishearing on Sound Chaser). It was to be downhill from then on. A couple of years ago in Delft I bought a mint copy of Moraz’s 1976 solo project The Story of I in a wonderful gatefold sleeve, one of the most bonkers concept lps of the time with some interesting ‘world music’ influences.

For the future I would say, although Stump doesn't, that a form of Progressive pop is emerging from the likes of These New Puritans, Everything, Everything and Field Music; in the US Deerhoof have been doing it for a while and Guided by Voices used to say they played the 4 p's: Pop, Punk, Psychedelia and Prog.

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