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Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:58 am
by iProg
To break loose from the "Prophet five rev 2" thread and many others, here is a thread for all of us who love the prog scene and its marvelous musicians and sound.

To continue on the Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia) subject from the aforementioned thread, his work on Asia's "Alpha is just amazing. The mix is pretty bad though :D

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:18 am
by V301H
The American band Touch recorded some of the earliest Prog in 1968. It sounds to me like the vocals and some other instruments were processed through a Moog modular. See what anybody here thinks. The keyboard player is none other than Don Gallucci who played on "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen:

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:42 pm
by goom
I've found tons of fantastic prog that I had never even heard of, on internet radio stations (various stations). It's a shame that such great music never gets to see the light of day on local radio stations.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:34 pm
by Syn303
Keith Emerson especially his keyboard playing, lots of fast runs, the odd dagger in here and there, the gentle tipping of his organ during a crazy bout of Rondo and his remarkable moog synthesizer playing on the Brain Salad Surgery album.

Of course Mr Emerson is a showman =D>


I remember they always had a who was the best keyboard player,
and the names Emerson and Wakeman always came up in discussions.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:14 pm
by Analogue Crazy
My favorite Prog Rock keyboardists are Richard Tandy of ELO and Tony Banks of Genesis. Richard Tandy used a lot of CS-80 and Polymoog in the late 70's (and a Minimoog of course). Tony Banks has used a huge array of synths throughout the years:

I really admire Tony Bank's use of the Wavestation. Just listen to these pads and the solo towards the end:


Early to Late 70's:
Hammond L-100 (ok this is an organ)
ARP Pro-Soloist
ARP 2600
Moog Polymoog
Moog Taurus 1
Yamaha CS-80
Mellotron
Roland RS-202

Late 70's/80's:
ARP Quadra
SCI Prophet 5
SCI Prophet 10
Synclavier

90's:
Korg Wavestation
Roland JD-800

Of course, there's much more. These are just some key synths.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:29 pm
by nathanscribe
A friend of mine saw ELP at Leeds Town Hall in the 70s... he says when they wheeled on the Moog modular, it got a bigger cheer than the band...

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:58 pm
by Z
Growing up in the 80's and the "real" MTV era, I've always preferred what I call "prog pop" as to not offend the prog "purists." I'm talking late 70's/early 80's Alan Parsons Project, Asia, ELO, ELPalmer & ELPowell, Genesis, Moody Blues, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Saga & Yes. Stuff with structure and the occassional melody. I never could really get into early 70's "ramblings". But the mid to late 80's, some of these prog acts found their way into the really poppy, corporate rock c**p. Saga, for instance: their first 4-5 albums are masterpieces. Once you get to Wildest Dreams, they took a huge turn for the worse. They started to redeem themselves in the 90's, though.

Always cool to see photos of our prog heroes with their stacks of synths.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:14 am
by mis psiquicios y yo
Z wrote:Growing up in the 80's and the "real" MTV era, I've always preferred what I call "prog pop" as to not offend the prog "purists." I'm talking late 70's/early 80's Alan Parsons Project, Asia, ELO, ELPalmer & ELPowell, Genesis, Moody Blues, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Saga & Yes. Stuff with structure and the occassional melody. I never could really get into early 70's "ramblings". But the mid to late 80's, some of these prog acts found their way into the really poppy, corporate rock c**p. Saga, for instance: their first 4-5 albums are masterpieces. Once you get to Wildest Dreams, they took a huge turn for the worse. They started to redeem themselves in the 90's, though.

Always cool to see photos of our prog heroes with their stacks of synths.
"


I've been listening to Worlds Apart in my car lately, what a great "prog-pop" album, another mid 80's act you might like is Rush, like on Power Windows which is heavy son synths

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:21 am
by Box
Return to Forever with Chick Corea has some awesome stuff. And of course Dream Theater with Jordan Rudess. Then Richard Barbrieri with Japan and Porcupine Tree. The list goes on...

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:24 am
by Z
mis psiquicios y yo wrote: I've been listening to Worlds Apart in my car lately, what a great "prog-pop" album, another mid 80's act you might like is Rush, like on Power Windows which is heavy son synths
It's interesting how Worlds Apart has such a different sound than their other albums, including Heads or Tales, which was also produced by Rupert Hine. I remember hearing "On the Loose" for the first time on the radio when I was young and how full of energy it was. That's one abulm that's frozen in time. It never gets old no matter how many times you listen to it.

I forgot to mention Rush in my list above. Everything they did between 2112 and Hold Your Fire are my favorites. Power Windows, in my opinion, has some of their best song writing. It's a little too synthy for the Rush I grew up on (Permanent Wave, Moving Pictures, Signals), but WOW, what a great album! Plus me being such a sucker for PPG Wave sounds. Another timeless album.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:01 am
by V301H
Ambrosia's first two albums featured some pretty serious Prog-pop with Christopher North on keyboards. They were produced by Alan Parsons and appeared on some Alan Parsons Project recordings. The band later dropped the Prog leanings and had several MOR ballad hits.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:26 am
by Ian S
Fellow proghead checking in (as if I could be anything else with this gear list ;) ).

Emerson & Wakeman are probably my biggest influences, but others I'd mention would be John Tout of Renaissance (predominantly a pianist though), Jon Lord, Ken Hensley & Phil Lanzon of Uriah Heep (great Hammond players both), Pete Bardens of Camel, Iain Jennings of Mostly Autumn, Steve Walsh of Kansas, plus of course the fusion guys; Chick Corea (who I saw in Atlanta a few years ago, still amazing even in his 60s), Joe Zawinul (RIP), Jan Hammer, & Don Airey (who I lump in with fusion because I first came across him in Colosseum II).

As has already been mentioned, there's still a lot of good prog out there, you just have to dig deep to find it (though http://www.progarchives.com is a good place to start).

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:04 am
by Johnny Lenin
I grew up in Montreal, the place where prog rock could still sell out arenas and stadiums in the late-1970s... Where you'd hear Gentle Giant at least a couple of time a week on the local FM station in the early 1980s. It's no accident that ELP chose Montreal for their live album.

But the prog rockers I always liked the most were King Crimson. Not a huge amount of keyboard work there, but they made me love the Mellotron. It was a wall of sound on their first two albums, but it was on the Fripp/Bruford/Wetton albums where I think the Mellotron was used to its greatest -- and sometimes subtlest effect.

Two prog keyboardists who I don't think ever get the credit they deserve are John Evan and Eddie Jobson. I think Evan's work is so subtle and so just right on albums like War Child that it's easy to forget that he's there. He's not flashy, but could you imagine 70s Tull without him? And Jobson's playing -- violin and keyboards -- on the first UK album was inspiring.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:21 am
by iProg
Z wrote:
mis psiquicios y yo wrote: I've been listening to Worlds Apart in my car lately, what a great "prog-pop" album, another mid 80's act you might like is Rush, like on Power Windows which is heavy son synths
It's interesting how Worlds Apart has such a different sound than their other albums, including Heads or Tales, which was also produced by Rupert Hine. I remember hearing "On the Loose" for the first time on the radio when I was young and how full of energy it was. That's one abulm that's frozen in time. It never gets old no matter how many times you listen to it.

I forgot to mention Rush in my list above. Everything they did between 2112 and Hold Your Fire are my favorites. Power Windows, in my opinion, has some of their best song writing. It's a little too synthy for the Rush I grew up on (Permanent Wave, Moving Pictures, Signals), but WOW, what a great album! Plus me being such a sucker for PPG Wave sounds. Another timeless album.
Power Windows is my favorite album of all time. The ultimate work of art.

Re: Keyboards and synthesizers in Progressive Rock

Posted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:49 am
by j fish
Johnny Lenin wrote: Two prog keyboardists who I don't think ever get the credit they deserve are John Evan and Eddie Jobson.
I agree, especially about John Evan. Marvelous keyboard-player!
Jethro Tull is one of my absolute favorite bands! =D>

Wakeman, Emerson and Tony Banks are all major influences for me but one of my all time favorites is Mark Kelly of Marillion.
He might not be the worlds most technical player but he has an impeccable taste when choosing sounds and setting moods IMO.
I especially like the early period which was heavy on the moogs and other analogues as well as the last 5-8 years or so. Mid-period Marillion was a bit too heavy on the digital synths for my taste (Lots of D-50).

8)