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Noni
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xx Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Thread started on: Nov 10th, 2017, 3:02pm »

Just been going over some Peter Gabriel's stuff. I have to admit, he has maintained his Prog routes throughout his solo career.

While Phil went more commercial and poppy in his work, Peter can be more classically orientated in his work. cool There are a few albums I just acquired OVO and Scratch My Back.. I'm surprised to hear Elbow's - Mirrorball on Scratch my Back's album.. shocked
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #1 on: Nov 14th, 2017, 10:06am »

on Nov 10th, 2017, 3:02pm, Noni wrote:
Just been going over some Peter Gabriel's stuff I'm surprised to hear Elbow's - Mirrorball on Scratch my Back's album.. shocked

Why surprised?
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #2 on: Nov 14th, 2017, 11:31am »

on Nov 14th, 2017, 10:06am, Backdrifter wrote:
Why surprised?


Surprised to hear, Elbow's track here. That's all!.. rolleyes grin
« Last Edit: Nov 14th, 2017, 11:32am by Noni » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #3 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 04:44am »

Well, I strongly disagree with the basic notion.

First of all, how does one define the general description of "prog"?

I think that most "prog" affectionados would generally refer to aspects of distinct extensions of instrumental performances, technical virtuosity, relatively long and complicated song structures, and broad lyrical storytelling. Oddly, PG never really indulged in those concepts as a solo artist.

Seriously, please point to a PG solo track with an extended instrumental section, or a broad fantasy story lyric. Heck, do any of his songs have a genuine and definitive guitar solo? Is there any PG song where the clear attention is based upon an instrumental performance or has a focus generally based upon an instrumental theme?

Oh sure, I have no doubt that one might have the inclination to point to a specific moment in a particular track and declare..."a-ha! there's some "prog" for ya!" But honestly, aren't those instances just grasping at straws? Heck, I could point out similar instances in Phil's solo work. "Moribund" and "Down The Dolce Vita" certainly glance back at his prog past, but there's much more to Gabriel than that. His second album virually abandons any pretence of "prog", yet no one seems to mind. PG3 and PG4 have creative breakthroughs that certainly define his "sound", his style, and his artistic direction, but can one genuinely define that as "prog" in the traditional sense?

Again, that's where I still think the argument meets its head...what's "prog"?

So, no, I disagree with the idea that PG "maintained his 'prog' roots throughout his solo career". Far from it. He may have made a glance back early in his career, but once he settled into his comfort zone, "prog" became a non-entity.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #4 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 06:53am »

^ I think, as you say, the crux of this is the question: "what is prog?" It comes up regularly. Because the bands generally regarded as prog are all quite different, we're left with what I mainly regard as quite superficial aspects, e.g. song length, complexity, etc. Whatever we choose to define as prog, I agree that PG's solo stuff doesn't seem to fall into this category. The only thing I can think is that, in an interview PG once described a record company exec rejecting a Genesis demo on the grounds that the songs were all too different and combined too many various elements e.g. rock, folk, hymns, etc. PG said, for him, this was the essence of prog i.e. not following the usual rules, trying different combinations. By his own definition, he could be considered prog.

Radiohead are one of my favourite bands and have often been classified as prog, which they've rebutted. In a Q magazine feature Rick Wakeman was asked whether he considered certain bands to be prog. Regarding Radiohead he concluded "Sorry lads, you're as prog as they come." I don't care how they're categorised, I just really like them, but struggle to see how they're prog. They do like to do things differently, so maybe under PG's definition, they are.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #5 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 06:57am »

on Nov 14th, 2017, 11:31am, Noni wrote:
Surprised to hear, Elbow's track here. That's all!.. rolleyes grin


Any more surprised than seeing tracks by Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Regina Spektor, Randy Newman?
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #6 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 07:44am »

My two penneth re: what is prog?

I've always thought of this question in two ways. For me, there is small 'p' prog(ressive) and capital 'P' prog(ressive). The former - small 'p' prog - is applicable to artists and bands whom embrace (sometimes radical) change in their music. This can occur in many different areas of music not just rock music. While capital 'P' prog is, again for me, equates to those trappings (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) associated with a handful of bands and artists from the late 1960s to the mid-70s (Yes, ELP, Genesis): you know - capes, keyboard solos, 25 minute suites, wizards and goblins, general overblown extravagance. Such tropes have become either a form of genre shorthand or a stick with which to beat folk.

So prog (small 'p') can, imho, cover everything from Radiohead and Steve Wilson, through Mansun and Spock's Beard, to Enslaved and It Bites, to Henry Cow and the Residents, to the aforementioned (capital 'p') Prog stalwarts. Basically, if an artist is challenging their own boundaries or those of their genre(s) I would class them as progressive without necessarily being Prog.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #7 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 10:53am »

^ Very nicely put, I like it.

By the way, people on the periphery of, or non-fans of, prog (or Prog!) often cite wizards and goblins as being part of the whole prog rock fabric. Are there any actual known examples of bands doing songs about wizards and goblins?!
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #8 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 2:50pm »

Thanks Backdrifter!* smiley Under the rubric I attempted to lay out above, I would definitely describe PG as progressive rather than Prog. Radiohead are one of my all time favourite bands, and they’re the embodiment of progressive for me. Someone like Bjork would also be classed as progressive. I really liked Steven Wilson’s description of his recent record (and my favourite album of 2017 by a country mile) “To The Bone”:

“My fifth record is in many ways inspired by the hugely ambitious progressive pop records that I loved in my youth (think Peter Gabriel’s So, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring and Tears for Fears’ Seeds of Love).”

The bands and artists are all ones I also love. All definitely progressive, imho.

* I did wonder if your pseudonym was a reference to the great tune from Radiohead’s underrated “Hail To The Thief” album.
« Last Edit: Nov 15th, 2017, 2:54pm by ImperialSquonk » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #9 on: Nov 15th, 2017, 3:14pm »

We had an interesting topic about critics' opinon of prog a while back. Some favourite songs of mine were listed which I had no idea could be considered prog:

http://genesisgts.conforums.com/index.cgi?board=prog&num=1472571075&action=display&start=0

Because Peter's music has for the most part been more 'serious' & more 'challenging' than Phil's music I would guess that many of his fans would still regard it as 'prog'.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #10 on: Nov 16th, 2017, 11:49am »

I’ve been mulling this over since my last post and feel that I could also add a third caveat, as something of a half way house between progressive and Prog. I’ll call this “proggy”. laugh I know it’s a term already in use. But it’s something I use to try and explain what appeals to me about a piece of music by someone I don’t know or that I wouldn’t necessarily go for normally. By way of some form of example - another of my favourite albums of 2017 is “Big Balloon” by Dutch Uncles. A band which I would definitely describe as “proggy”.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #11 on: Nov 17th, 2017, 07:27am »

These "what is prog" discussions are all grey theory. In reality it seems to be pretty much pre-defined which bands and artists are supposed to be counted as prog and which ones aren't. Peter Gabriel is prog by definition, Phil Collins is not. Peter Gabriel could record a cover version of Invisible Touch and he would still be lauded by the worldwide prog community for adding the progressive edge to the song it needed so direly; Phil Collins could re-record Supper's Ready and he would be attacked for milking the cash cow and ruining the epic for cheap commercial sellout.
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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #12 on: Nov 25th, 2017, 07:25am »

on Nov 17th, 2017, 07:27am, Schrottrocker wrote:
These "what is prog" discussions are all grey theory. In reality it seems to be pretty much pre-defined which bands and artists are supposed to be counted as prog and which ones aren't. Peter Gabriel is prog by definition, Phil Collins is not. Peter Gabriel could record a cover version of Invisible Touch and he would still be lauded by the worldwide prog community for adding the progressive edge to the song it needed so direly; Phil Collins could re-record Supper's Ready and he would be attacked for milking the cash cow and ruining the epic for cheap commercial sellout.

A bit harsh perhaps but I see your point. The other side of the coin could be that each, Peter and Phil reaped what they sowed which brings me to the definition of what's prog, a definition I obviously don't have. If were to have a go at it, I would say that prog is more a matter of attitude, of how making music is approached, than anything else.
It just so happens that prog is rooted in a specific decade in music: late 60s up to mid perhaps late 70s and that comes with specific connotations and a baggage I might say: long compositions, intricate lyrics, complex time signatures and so on but once that becomes the rule, once that becomes the formula, it is no longer prog, it's just that.... formulaic, reiteration and repetition.
Also, I think people tend to confuse what was called symphonic rock with prog rock in general.
In the Court of the Crimson King is definitely prog, so is however, Discipline and the two records have absolutely nothing in common, musically speaking but a lot as far as the attitude towards making music is concerned.
My favourite Genesis album is Trick, in fact it's my favorite record ever but I would hesitate to define it as prog. All the elements are there, intros, outros, instrumental passages, lyrics, musicianship, length of the songs but it is, if not the repetition, perhaps the peak of what they had been doing up to the point. I might argue they just did it better with Trick but it would be according to my taste but again, I would also argue they were sticking to a formula, a formula which was at risk of becoming stale with W&W and ATTW3.
Prog, I would venture, is the rejection of an established formula and blazing trails, in that respect The Lamb is imo prog, it was different from what Genesis and others were doing at the time, whereas Trick not so much. PG1&2 aren't prog imo but PG3 definitely is and yet there is nothing complex about, say...Intruder, yet it was like nothing you had ever heard. That's the major issue I have with the majority of neo -prog bands and artists. They are derivative, they set out to write long songs and look to complicate things, whereas artists in the 70' simply wanted to break out of a format, it was an entirely different approach.
Phil, I would say is not prog, never really was, because of the way he approached his songwriting.
As a musician, as a drummer he had all it takes to play whatever he wanted, as a songwriter perhaps not so much and perhaps he wasn't so interested. Peter and Phil were the two off in Genesis: Ant, Tony, Steve and even Mike, even without discarding all their differences come from the same place, the same musical roots.
Peter and Phil, although diametrically apart, not so much and there is imo a restlessness, an experimental whim and quirkiness about Peter that makes him ...Well, prog, whereas Phil falls into a more conventional canon.
« Last Edit: Nov 25th, 2017, 09:45am by Fabrizio » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins Prog
« Reply #13 on: Nov 25th, 2017, 11:47am »

I think that thread does pick up a point I have felt for a long time. There are 2 types of prog:

1/ Progresssive rock (capital P): by those who pioneered the sound we now call prog, and

2/ progressive rock (small p): by those who emulate the sound that was in essence "laid down long before". wink
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