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- Metaphor, “The Sparrow”: An excellent track
from a great neo-progressive band. They’ve got a very distinctive sound, and this is an excellent example of it.
- Marillion, “A Collection”: a track off Marillion’s
worst-ever album. It’s not a bad song; probably the best
on that profoundly mediocre album. But that’s not saying much.
- Sonic Youth, “Fauxhemians”: very good, very strange, very noisy stuff.
- Porcupine Tree, “The Creator Has a Mastertape”: I love Porcupine Tree. This is an excellent track, very typical of them. Great stuff built around highly distorted vocals and guitar, backed by great bass work. Amazingly great stuff.
- A Silver Mount Zion, “Sow Some Lonesome Corners So Many Flowers Bloom”: Post-rock from a subset of Godspeed You! Block Emperor. They’re nowhere close to as good as the full-blown
Godspeed collective, but they’re pretty good. This is off of my favorite Mt. Zion recording, “This is Our Punk Rock, THee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing”. It’s very good, with a nice minimalist structure of building up layers.
- Peter Schickele, “Allegro Ma Non Troposphere”: If you don’t know about PDQ Bach, you’re sadly deprived. PDQ is the invention of Professor Peter Schickele; he is allegedly the 13th illegitimate grandson of J. S. Bach; the last and least of the
musical descendants of Bach. Schickele writes music allegedly by PDQ. It’s amazingly funny stuff, ranging from slapstick (this
one starts off with the musicians playing off of the wrong sheetmusic), to the very deep (musical tricks making fun of the typical gimmicks used by various composers; for example, this
one contains a climbing melody in the beginning that’s similar to something commonly used by Vivaldi; but instead of rising up twice or three times the way Vivaldi would, it does it something like twelve times. It’s also got a few digs at Mozart, John McLachlan, and a few others.) I happen to have been lucky enough to be in the audience of the performance this recording was made from.)
- Zoe Keating, “Legions”: This is brilliant and strange. It’s a classically trained cellist who performs solo with tape-loop. She starts by laying a basic loop, and then building layers on top of it, until she’s got a texture, and then playing the main composition on top of the loop. It’s amazing.
- Anekdoten, “The Great Unknown”: a neo-progressive group that sounds a lot like “Red”-era King Crimson. They’re very good, but they sound a bit too much like KC. In general, I think that there aren’t enough groups that try to follow in the footsteps of Fripp and Friends, but I’d like to hear something a bit more original. If you listen to one track by Anekdoten, it sounds fantastic. But by the time you’ve listened to an entire album, you’re very bored; it’s all so derivative.
- The Redneck Manifesto, “Good With Tempos”: a post-rock band that’s very much in the style of Mogwai, but with their own distinctive style. The Rednecks are fantastic.
- Magma, “Ork Alarm”: I’ve mentioned Magma before. They’re one of the strangest groups I listen to. They’re sort of a cross between classical music and progressive rock. The leader of the band actually invented his own language to sing in, and the singing is more in the style of a choir singing in a symphony. This sounds a lot like a 20th century classical opera. Fortunately, I like
20th century opera. I’m not a fan of the older, traditional Italian opera like Verdi, but a lot of the 20th century stuff by folks like John Adams, Phillip Glass, and Igor Stravisky have, while not necessarily being traditional opera, been utterly brilliant.