My brother Andrew began a music review blog called Indie Scene about a month ago, but then he promptly went on tour with his band The Yage Letters. Now that he has returned and has begun posting again, I thought it might be an opportune time for me to share what he will be doing.
Now, before I get too far, the title of my post perhaps needs some clarification. Andrew will not be reviewing only progressive music, as the title might seem to imply. He will not even be reviewing music from an exclusively progressive perspective. His own music and his own tastes, however, have decidedly progressive elements to them, and this provides much of the tone for his reviewing.
For those who are not quite familiar with the idea of progressive music, and I confess that I am certainly no expert myself, it is an approach to music, encompassing several genres, that contests the forms that have come to dominate almost every musical style in our popular culture. These popular forms include a song length that is short enough to suit radio play, a chorus-verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus structure, a musical hook that occurs in the first few seconds of the song, a production style that reduces bass and percussion to filler sound, and other similarly standard elements.
Progressive music contests these forms in several ways, including a song length that may be quite extended, a structure that employs complex musical progressions that build to a musical climax, several interrelated musical themes that are developed simultaneously, an emphasis on the musical role of all of the instruments in a band, an approach to production that alters the tone of the instruments to suit a particular composition, a fascination with layered and textured sounds, an attention to the technicalities of percussion on all instruments that in some cases approaches the purely mathematical, and various other techniques also. It is these formal questions that very often dominate the ways that Andrew reviews an album or a band.
Because of his own musical interests, the albums and bands he reviews will mostly be independent, and they will frequently be from the spectrum of styles that are lumped under the label of metal. For those of you who are immediately imagining the worst that pop-metal has to offer, I can assure you that this will not mean a regular tour through the top forty. Andrew’s interests are, as I said, largely with independent music, and he will be reviewing local Guelph bands when he can, so his subjects will not often be the mass-produced bands that make up our popular soundscape.
So, have a read. You just might be entertained.