The final program of Randophonic’s three part celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1974 aired December 13th, on CiTR.FM.101.9.
Here’s the main Mixcloud stream.
Plus the extended Movie of the Week, Philip Random’s epic distillation of The Planet Gong Trilogy …
The podcast of the full program is available for download here …
Part Three takes on 1974’s elephant in the room, so-called Prog Rock, which it’s safe to say, peaked in 1974 (for better or for worse).
What is Prog Rock? Quoting the Wiki …
a rock music subgenre that originated in the United Kingdom with further developments in Germany, Italy, and France, throughout the mid-to-late 1960s and 1970s. It developed from psychedelic rock, and originated, similarly to art rock, as an attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music. Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect.
But don’t read about it. Listen to it …
Yes – Sound Chaser
Wherein Yes finally find that edge they’d been rhapsodizing about. And weird and beautiful and fierce it is. Also difficult to dance to.
Peter Hammill – modern *
(* mislabelled as The Comet The Course The Tail on-air) In which the Jesus of Angst waxes high and deep on the desperately strange state of things now and forever.
Jethro Tull – solitaire + back door angels
Tull’s previous two albums (Thick as a Brick and Passion Play) had both been mega concepts (single songs stretched across entire albums). Which made 1974’s War Child, (sporting no less than ten separate tracks), at least at little less dense. But it still seemed to be about everything …
Brian Eno – dead finks don’t talk
True, we played a pile of Eno last week, and he generally self-identified as Art Rock (as opposed to Progressive) being rather wary of the whole heavy concept scene. But if Dead Finks Don’t Talk is not completely concerned with expanding the form, what the hell is?
Triumvirat – illusions on a double dimple
The German trio who manage to rip off Emerson Lake and Palmer’s sound more or less completely. And yet it’s better than ELP. Not as aggressively pompous and absurd. The guy’s not jamming daggers into his organ. There’s no flying piano.
King Crimson – fracture + red
If you’re talking prog-rock in any year, you must talk King Crimson. In 1974, they gave us two albums (Starless and Bible Black and Red — both monsters), and then that was it, Robert Fripp broke up the band forever … until 1981, but that’s a whole other story). Why the break-up? Because as Mr. Fripp put it at the time, “The old world, characterized by large, unwieldy and vampiric organizations, is in fact dead, and King Crimson with it.” But they did die well.
Renaissance – Mother Russia
They started as an offshoot of the Yardbirds, but somehow managed to lose everyone along the way whilst morphing into a unique prog outfit defined by the sweetness and power of singer Annie Haslam’s vocals, and their love of big deal Russian melodies.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK – THE PLANET GONG TRILOGY
The Planet Gong Trilogy started coming our way in 1973 and hit its midpoint in 1974. It’s best understood as the spaced out brainchild (it came to him in a vision) of uber-proto-hippie front man Daevid Allen (founding member of Soft Machine, visionary HOT guitar player).
But then it seems that the child in question crossed the street without asking permission, disappeared into the mysterious playground at the end of the block.
Which is to say, it never really ended. The trilogy, that is. At least that’s how we’ve interpreted things.
So it’s still out there, still exploding and expounding to the outer reaches of the ever expanding universe. Which is a mostly good thing. Maybe we’ll eventually catch up to it.