When I was at Hofstra, I took a class called the History of Electronic Music. It was one of my favorite classes that I took there, partly because it was taught by Herbert Deutsch, who collaborated with Bob Moog on the creation of the Moog synthesizer. Aside from the fact that the class was taught by such a remarkable and interesting man, the best thing about it was hearing a ton of great music.
We didn’t get too far into modern music, but we did get to the ’80s – how could we not? It was here that I first paid much attention to prog, but I still walked away with a very distinct impression of it. My encounters with prog songs usually went something like this – I’d hear the first few minutes, think “oh, this is goood,” then get completely bored and turned off by the way that so many prog bands would absolutely crush a decent song by jamming for 5 minutes in between/around usable themes. Now, obviously this doesn’t encompass prog as a whole — that’s just how so much of it seemed to play out to me.
Just over a month ago, I went to see Children of Men, and during a scene in the movie (where they also reference fellow Progers Pink Floyd), they play King Crimson’s “Court of the Crimson King.” A few weeks later, my roommate was watching Buffalo ’66, which has a sequence set to “Moonchild.” Well, I had no choice but to get a copy of Court of the Crimson King.
I’ve been listening to it nearly every day, and as someone with limited exposure to the genre, it’s pretty much blown my perception of prog rock. While the album does have moments of intense electric jams (most of “21st Century Schizoid Man” and parts of the title track), a substantial portion of it consists of light, percussion based melodies with layered vocals. It’s nothing short of stunning. The whole thing is incredible, but for the past couple days, I’m especially stuck on “I Talk to the Wind.”
King Crimson: “I Talk to the Wind” (download)
Enjoy the Grammys — next week I’ll be more on the ball.