Thursday, October 22, 2009

Preview of Upcoming Series here at the Prog Rock Blog

Next week will see the beginning of two new features on this here blog. In addition to Reviews and News from the world of Progressive Rock I will be embarking on two series that will essentially consist of two in depth studies of subjects that I have been obsessing over recently.

First, I've finally done it. I've arrived at the point where I think I know the work of Frank Zappa. Now, as any of you who might be familiar with Uncle Frank's body of work, this is no easy feat. In fact, despite my prior knowledge of quite a few of his albums, I don't think anything could have prepared me for how life changing getting to know his overall oeuvre can be. I've been reading various biographies and devouring any interviews that I can find with him online. I have come to the point where I almost feel it's my duty to attempt to get as many people as I can into Zappa's world. The guy is so darned misunderstood and so sorely underrated that I couldn't have it any other way. The approach I'll take is attempt to provide a super detailed look into his albums (studio and live) and try to explain them with a Prog Rock mentality in mind. I'm going to do my part to introduce new generations to his genius in a way that Dweezil and his Zappa plays Zappa traveling museum band never could. My first Zappa essay should be out early next week.

Second, surround sound! Being a former student of all things Audio at a prestigious (and highly overrated) University program here in Toronto, I have gained a better understanding of all things SOUND. I have been able to put together an extremely cheap but usable 5.1 Surround System and have slowly been collecting music to take advantage of all those speakers. I've recently come to an amazing conclusion: Prog Rock is meant to be heard in Surround Sound! Yes folks, all these decades of listening to Rock music on two speakers has been a complete waste. Surround sound is the way to go! With the recent release of Genesis' catalog in 5.1 and the even more recent King Crimson DVD-Audio releases, the view has been firmly cemented into place. The problem is, nobody ever takes the idea of surround sound and music seriously. In the 1970s plenty of great Prog albums were released in Quadraphonic sound, but despite some well done mixes the format suffered from imperfect technologies and competing standards that were messy and probably confusing for the uneducated consumers. In 2003 the record labels repeated this exact same mistake with SACD and DVD-Audio. Nobody really understood what these formats were and the confusion lead to more flops. Despite the terrible market (or lack there of) for surround music, I have been able to scrounge up a decently sized collection of SACDs and DVD-As. In addition there has been an amazing effort by music fans online to convert old Quad recordings into digital formats. The result is a huge collection of Prog and Prog related albums available for me to attempt to share with you. I'll be reviewing these albums one at a time and provide enough mouth watering detail that may entice you to invest in a system to play back these formats in the comfort of your own home. If you are serious about music (and what Prog fan ain't?) and the idea of sitting down on the couch for a distraction-free listening session of your favorite albums sounds like the best way to spend an evening (beats socializing that's for sure) then I think you will see many benefits to 5.1 Surround Sound.

So that's just a little tease of what I'm working on here at the Prog Rock Blog. A Prog Rock Guide to the Project/Object and Surrounded by Prog will commence next week. Also, I plan to just hammer out essays on as many classic Prog albums as I can. If you have a favorite that hasn't been covered here yet, leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, don't forget to stay true to your musical opinions and...


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