Penk's Prog Odyssey: Yes - Close to the Edge

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WG Kaspar
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby WG Kaspar » 07 Sep 2017, 19:55

PENK wrote:None of the Prog Squad want to offer some thoughts on this one? Recommendations in a similar vein?

You've all got plenty to say when I don't like the albums!

Well they are quite singular, in that I can't think of a certain prog band that has a similar style. Even other Canterbury bands are wildly different to them, more into jazz experimentation. I guess you could say that pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd have similarities, albums like More and Atom Heart Mother (although I would suggest the live versions of songs from those albums) and the more pastoral side of Genesis (Nursery Cryme in particular). There are other that can make better suggestions. Unless they suggest Camel who are rubbish.
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby Quaco » 07 Sep 2017, 20:05

WG Kaspar wrote:Unless they suggest Camel who are rubbish.

:D It's true. I have started to come around to them slightly by realizing they are just MOR mellow guitar solos with prog overtones, not a real band with real songs and stuff.
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kath
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby kath » 08 Sep 2017, 22:06

i loved the whole write-up, in point and description, but the close is my fave:

PENK wrote:It's music which is easily suggestive of a time and place: it sounds like it could have been recorded in the back room of an antiquarian bookshop, or in a wizard's pantry, or inside an old oak tree. Isn't that what you want from a prog album?


well, yes, often that is precisely what i want.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby C » 08 Sep 2017, 22:28

Carvan's Grey & Pink is a superb album

The one before is indeed magnificent

For Girls That Grow Plump is also awesome

They were somewhat erratic

Camel are an amazing band to and the first two albums are to die for.

That said, you either like it or you don't.

Simple

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby zoomboogity » 09 Sep 2017, 09:28

Of the four songs on side one of In The Land Of Grey And Pink, three are sung by Richard Sinclair. This is one of them, from Beat Club 1971.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby Moleskin » 09 Sep 2017, 10:14

I think Quaco is right about Camel. At their best they are pleasant.
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby C » 09 Sep 2017, 21:09

Listen again to Mirage and Moonmadness my dear friend

Yes, listen again to Mirage and Moonmadness








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fange wrote:OOOOF! Full of music!

Nice tubs. Good lad!

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby trans-chigley express » 11 Sep 2017, 01:15

Moleskin wrote:I think Quaco is right about Camel. At their best they are pleasant.


Camel are all about Snow Goose for me which I think is magnificent even with all the MOR mellow guitar solos. The albums before and the one after are pleasant.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby trans-chigley express » 11 Sep 2017, 01:19

C wrote:Carvan's Grey & Pink is a superb album

The one before is indeed magnificent

For Girls That Grow Plump is also awesome

They were somewhat erratic



I agree with that. Those three albums are their purple patch. It was downhill after.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby algroth » 20 Sep 2017, 17:34

Kinda late on this one... I can't really comment much on In the Land of Grey and Pink because I haven't heard it in years and don't really recall much of it. At the time I was investigating Caravan I enjoyed it but found it a tad too polite. I think I'd enjoy it more now but I really have to give it another spin.

You heard Hatfield and the North already, Penk? They kinda exhibit a similar style.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby PENK » 03 Oct 2017, 19:54

Image

Foreigners, eh?

A lot of them don't get rock music. Rock music seems to be built on something peculiar to Anglophone culture.

Sure, the French did some nifty pop - they can do anything if they put on some nice clothes and stick their tongues in their cheeks - and there were a few people in the colder regions of Europe who aped the Brits and Yanks well. The Germans are good at everything. Oh, and Latin America just gets music.

But rock in the Mediterranean? In Italy, especially? Well, there's Pavarotti showing up on 'Miss Sarajevo'. Some Eurovision balladeers in tight leather trousers: men with curly hair and five-o-clock shadows doing their best Celine Dion.

Odd, then, that the most prominent non-English-speaking prog outfit are Italians (discounting the Kosmische lot, who are only prog because the prog boys want to claim some secondhand coolness). But then again, given prog's tendency to try for classical transcendency, maybe the Italians would have something to offer? This is the land of Verdi, Puccini and Rossini, of Monteverdi and Vivaldi. If anyone knows how to play an archlute, it's them.

So my interest was piqued enough to give a whirl to this one, which regularly turns up in "best prog album ever" lists at about number 18 and even made BCB's own Prog Canon with about 90% of votes in support.

It's a prog album.

They have some classical touches. They have some jazz touches. They have some '70s rock touches. They have some bad production on the rhythm section. They definitely know their way around a nice melody and the classical and jazz elements are by far the most convincing, but they doom themselves by progging out.

The opening track, 'Appena Un Pò', is a good example. It starts with a very nice ambient synth wave, then suddenly I'm listening to William Byrd or something. It's very nice, but I'm just wondering why I'm listening to some Italian proggers imitate the real thing. And then, and then, the chunky rock starts. They quite literally carry on playing their frilly madrigal but put a blobby '70s bass and lumpen drums underneath it. This is why prog gets a bad rap. Why do that?

Other tracks are similarly confusing. Am I to appreciate the delicate melodies in 'Il Banchetto', or roll my eyes at the misguided synth tweaking? Or just skip the track when they start foolishly bleeping away in the middle of it? OK, props to them for composing the soundtrack to a lesser Super Mario sequel twenty years before the fact, but it sounds crap.

There is little De Niro-faced widdling here, but what there is is a lack of focus disguised as exploration and experimentation. No quibbles with either activity: but moderation is key. Here, they desperately throw everything they have into the record and never give themselves time to sit down, think about what their strengths are, and really explore the things they are good at.

It's frustrating because there are some really pretty passages here. Some of the flautism and twittering are a bit on the kitschy side, but they have some lovely melodies and atmospheres. They just suffer from the prog curse, that failure to resist doing too much, venturing into the unnecessary and the unappealing too often. The classical-style passages are all well and good, but a bit pointless: other people did this, and did it better, 150 years earlier. If they concentrated on the lightly jazzy, ambient passages - mellotron ahoy! - this would be a delightful record. As it is, it's an interesting one but not one I will be returning to.
Last edited by PENK on 03 Oct 2017, 19:59, edited 2 times in total.
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Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby PENK » 03 Oct 2017, 19:57

algroth wrote:You heard Hatfield and the North already, Penk? They kinda exhibit a similar style.


They are on my list of things to check out (not that I am rushing through the prog section of that list!), though I got the impression they're a bit like Caravan without the songwriting skillz...
GoogaMooga wrote:
Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby Quaco » 03 Oct 2017, 20:06

Nice write up of PFM. I like the melodies better than you seem to, and the sounds (of the synthesizers, Mellotrons, etc.) work for me. I think they're a little different, moodier, than your typical "trying to impress" prog instrumentation.

I did mostly agree with your assessments. The only problem was that you didn't hate them enough, so your review was a bit too even-handed. Hoping for some bile!
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby PENK » 03 Oct 2017, 20:09

Quaco wrote:I think they're a little different, moodier, than your typical "trying to impress" prog instrumentation.


Yes, I certainly didn't think they were trying to show how good they were at playing the instruments, more playing with different combinations of sounds and styles. My reservations were more about an apparent failure to recognise what worked and what didn't.

Quaco wrote:Hoping for some bile!


I haven't dared listen to anything I expect to hate recently. I'm actually trying to find things I might like!
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Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Caravan

Postby algroth » 03 Oct 2017, 20:10

PENK wrote:
algroth wrote:You heard Hatfield and the North already, Penk? They kinda exhibit a similar style.


They are on my list of things to check out (not that I am rushing through the prog section of that list!), though I got the impression they're a bit like Caravan without the songwriting skillz...


I think that isn't very accurate at all about them, really. I do think that they give in to jams and noodly passages more than Caravan but their actual songs as well as several of these passages are damn good from a songwriting standpoint. Example:



I do prefer their debut over Rotters Club overall though. I'll get onto PFM later but it's actually one of my least favorite Italian prog bands.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby Neil Jung » 03 Oct 2017, 20:54

As a long time fan of the genre, I rate PFMs Per Un Amico very highly indeed. I love all of it. I'm glad you liked at least some of it.

As for Hatfield I don't see much similarity between them and Caravan, except that they share a bass player / vocalist. They're nothing like mid or late period Caravan, more like National Health, but not as good.
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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby Hightea » 03 Oct 2017, 22:36

love Per un amico and exactly what you pick on is its strongest for me. PFM does an exceptional job of mixing jazz, classical and rock into one album. Exactly what I want and wish more prog bands took this approach instead on the solos approach. Yes there are some slow passages but as a whole this album is smooth and completely works.

Funny you like Caravan although Caravan always did have pieces of music that are more approachable to the common music fan. I can't see this carry on to Hatfield or National Health two bands that took it a step or two farther into the prog realm.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: Premiata Forneria Marconi

Postby algroth » 03 Oct 2017, 23:30

Neil Jung wrote:As a long time fan of the genre, I rate PFMs Per Un Amico very highly indeed. I love all of it. I'm glad you liked at least some of it.

As for Hatfield I don't see much similarity between them and Caravan, except that they share a bass player / vocalist. They're nothing like mid or late period Caravan, more like National Health, but not as good.


On the other hand, I don't think they sound at all like National Health. :) I think National Health had a much harder and more abrasive edge to their music that often approached them to RIO and avant-prog acts instead. To the best of my memory there's not a single NH track that tries anything near the poppiness of "Share It" or "Let's Eat (Real Soon)". Even in their jammier moments Hatfield still retain a mellow jazziness that is what most reminds of Caravan in their pre-For Girls period. Having said this, yes, I also prefer National Health, but for me it's a pretty different beast and I don't think it speaks ill of Hatfield either. :)

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey

Postby PENK » 29 Nov 2018, 21:32

I am bumping this thread in order to do a new review. This post to make sure it doesn't end up right at the bottom of the page!
GoogaMooga wrote:
Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.

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Re: Penk's Prog Odyssey: New review forthcoming!

Postby PENK » 29 Nov 2018, 22:15

I miscounted. Oops
GoogaMooga wrote:
Minnie Cheddars wrote:Baron got into a fight with some Satan’s Slaves over some culinary issue

Awful thing when that happens. I had a similar experience at a Tom Jones concert.