Thursday, March 17, 2011

My loveletter to prog...

From aforewritten comments it's easy to see that we have received complaints from a quarter. It really surprises me that some could see reason to be unhappy when those who buy these rarities at high cost and higher rarity share freely. Is this really the natural way of humanity, to take everything for granted if it is free and easy? For a small number to have the ability to ruin things for the greater good? In my work I know that a small, vocal, aggressive minority, can easily ruin things for the majority simply by creating onerous restrictions on the rest-- this is a kind of tragedy of the commons too... We see this everywhere in the bureaucracy of democratic countries where increasing regulations (which protect the tiniest minorities to the detriment generally of the rest) create hardships (e.g. financial) for the honest ordinary person-- who wants nothing to do with these issues. Well, my wife has the simplest answer to this: "we're doomed, and we deserve it. People are all selfish." (To which I usually say, what about me, am I selfish?)

In these posts I have attempted to communicate my deep and undying love for progressive music: as I sometimes say as a joke to my wife, I am so lucky every day to have so many beautiful albums to listen to, and also, to have a wonderful wife and beautiful children.
I feel I have searched all my life for this music. As we all know it's addictive. For sure it's a drug, one I couldn't bear to leave behind on my holiday... Once you 'get it' you can't go back, in my opinion, it becomes a passion. I cannot bear to listen to someone playing the muzak or soft-rock radio stations at work. I start to rant, and they of course all laugh. We want to hear something new and different every day, a new chord change or interval we never heard before, something completely unexpected again. Of course it will never be the same as the first time we heard Soft Machine (only about 11 years ago, in my case) or name any other of your favourite: for me, Carpe Diem, Pulsar, Transit Express, Jox, these are some of the albums that transport me directly on an interstellar drive to heaven at 99 percent of light speeds. Sometimes we find something that comes close to that beautiful feeling we first had when, jaw dropping and in ecstatic shock, we hear some kind of music that we never could have thought possible.

All my life I've listened to music, to pop and rock, to modern classical, getting bored of those, to jazz, getting tired of that, back to rock and then to metal and alternative until they lost interest... then when I discovered progressive rock I realized, here is the type that included within it all types, all styles, all genres, and not just in a kind of awkward mishmash (as is done nowadays by the novices) but actually in the most beautiful and harmonious way imaginable-- think of how Conventum melds together folk music and classical music, how Maxophone blends classical with rock, how the recent Genre band combined rock with jazz, creating a completely coherent whole. And the best of them all created music that was not only original, but beautiful and harmonious.

Why is it so beautiful? We don't know exactly why music is harmonious to the human brain. But I believe that it has to do with the concepts of chaos and complexity, which are general features of many things in life and physics. Basically, we can say that life as a chemical phenomenon is on the border between random chaos and complex order, it has a very distinct uniqueness which appears to be chaotic but which is rather at the maximum possible complexity. It is difficult to differentiate between the two but I think the human brain has the ability to tell-- for sure to a chimpanzee the music we listen to is random noise, but to us who can interpret the acoustic signals in the maximum possible information-processing manner, it is not, on the contrary, it operates at the maximum possible complexity which is comprehensible to the brain. This, to me, is what progressive music is: the maximum information we can process as beautiful all in one package, on the border of chaos, almost at the point of collapse, always at the edge of the abyss of the fall... This is why these sudden chord changes and dissonances appeal so much-- they can't be random, they have to be based on the collective musical consciousness of humanity, the unconscious heritage locked into the acoustic cortical connexions and synapses that have been passed on to us through generations. Surely this is the summit of music, of musical ability. All the collective aspirations and achievements -- and rock with its energy and strength, jazz with its emotions, and classical music with its scientific accuracy, are all important bases, together they create a three-dimensional vector space that we become lost in as a world that is more spacious and potential that any world we can come across in reality... a kind of infinite-dimensional Hilbert space in which the vector state of absolute beauty resides in permanent platonic perfection...

For sure we know that Joachim Kuhn needs no introduction, anyone who doesn't know who he is should not be reading this, so as a treat I would like to present this lost album from another master shige rip, called "Information", from 1981, with included cover. It has moments of the wonderful Kuhn that we love so profoundly-- the master who created Cinemascope, Hip Elegy, Sunshower, Springfever, etc., all of which when I first heard about 6 years ago I thought I was going to die of joy, thanks to the wonderful one who first shared them to me, the great "master of prog" mentioned before, to whom I beg forgiveness every day... I think it's an important (lost) document for all those who love Kuhn. Track 2 (Miles) has a bit of that Manhattan Transfer unison jazz sound but moves into some advanced-level songwriting, track 3 (Dreamworld) has a cool atmosphere of mysterious progressive, and 7 (Line of fire) features the typical waterfall-like solo piano style and constant key-changes of the inimitable master.

In closing, I want to mention that despite the deep love of progressive we have, we have to keep this in perspective, there are very very few people in the world who share this 'bizarre hobby' as my wife calls it, maybe one in a million. We really should be working together and not trying to hoard rarities from each other like little trolls. We shouldn't be hiding stuff in basements everywhere but instead like a kind of monastic collective effort, everyone should be trying to preserve as much as possible by ripping everything they can for the coming dark ages and making as much available as freely as possible. We shouldn't be bitching to another about quality of this or that rip or so on, but appreciate we are brothers and we are in this together, working together for the preservation of a cultural treasure greater even than the gold and cemetaries of the Nile. I believe this a hundred percent & this is why I do this. Those who complain should understand we all work full-time and have very little free time-- this is all done as a labour of love in our spare time and it's not like I have a chance in hell of ever getting any financial reward or any other success with this. What a joke!! I could (and probably should) be blogging about my crazy children and the cute things they do and the many toys we buy for them every day, and thereby I could get a million-dollar book deal and endorsement from Toys-r-us, but I don't, because this music is my true passion.

Please-- keep your complaints to yourself... We are not a medical licencing authority here. Again, when I tell my wife about these matters, she laughs, she says, some of these people never leave their parents' basements, do you not realize this?... but her main point is this, ít's so unimportant in the long run, do you not realize...


Record Fiend said...


What a beautiful essay. I laughed, I cried, and I downloaded some great music while I was at it. Although I'm not as big of a fan of prog as you are, I can still relate to everything that you wrote.

Keep the faith,


Anonymous said...

Hi Tristan,

I appreciate what you're trying to express here. I just just don't understand how some people think. I see comments like you describe. People complaining about VBR vs CBR or "if the music is so important, why don't you rip to flac". I'll bet a lot of these don't even get listened to. They just want to get past 10 or 20 or whatever thousand songs.

I also greatly appreciate the work that goes into this. There's some great music here that I never would have found ever. Sure, you just knew some of these. I guess that's "no work". Others you sought out and still others you probably got from blog readers or the like returning the favor for your efforts.

I mostly agree with your wife. People are selfish and we _might_ be doomed because of it. I don't think we deserve it, though. I used to think _society_ deserved it because we let this crap happen. But, recently I've been realizing that a lot of the people doing this stuff just don't care. Nothing we can do could have stopped it.

One more thing. I think you'll be happy to know that your music isn't stopping at my hard drive. People in my corner of the world are hearing it too. (And dome actually like it :))

Thank you, Tristan.

Tristan Stefan said...


mp3 & covers(front and back and inner)
Joachim Kuhn - Information 1981

Tristan Stefan said...

wow, great comments from anonymous, thanks a lot...

I agree with you, the problem is that people just don't care. They don't care for example that the world of their children and grandchildren is being destroyed right now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

PhilipCopley said...

A great, moving update Prognotfrog!
I have found some great albums here Thank you!

Centipede - Septober Energy is superb!
And I love Comus and top of all King Cri0son!

Thank you for everything! Prog is unbeleivable

Dr Dopo said...

Some people are jerks but don't think for a second that your work here goes unappreciated. Progressive music really is far too beautiful and amazing of a godsend to hoard to ourselves, and I'm really quite thankful there are people like you who recognize this enough to go to all this trouble.

One thing I love about this blog is there is so much I've gotten here that I would've never come across in a million years otherwise. I'm sure I speak for many of us in saying that. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Also; my God! How many records do you have man?! Aren't you running out of stuff to post?

Tristan Stefan said...

running out yes, myself, but the contributors always seem to have more to share, thanks to them

Anonymous said...

> wow, great comments from anonymous, thanks a lot...

Don't mention it. Writing a blog comment is nothing compared to what you do.

BTW, you can call me Anon :)

Tristan Stefan said...

thanks anononymous, i hope we can go by first name basis now

Ben Sommer said...


peskypesky said...

That is a helluva love-letter to prog! What a great essay! Thank you for writing and sharing it. I'm going to send it to my brother and some other friends who love prog.

My only question: who is Joachim Kuhn?

I love prog (Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, VdGG, etc, etc), but i don't think i've ever heard of Kuhn. Time for me to discover!

Anonymous said...

Chaos and complexity, collective musical consciousness of humanity that bonds us all together, no matter where we are from or who we are. Your text encloses the very essence of music, not just progressive, every kind of it, which is communication of feelings,the joy people get from it and how it bring us closer to each other. Also thanks for the music you share, i havent listen to everything you have uploaded, its too much, but i did discover artists of past years (for example Bojoura, what a unique voice and nice music!). Thanks to you and other people that share, their music will probably always have some audience.

chillybonkers said...


non sint fatui vos tristes.

roughly - don't let the morons get you down.

You are doing good work and many people here in the interwebs depend on you to broaden our horizons. You are doing good work. Keep it up.

Harmonium said...

Link to information_1981_mp3.rar is no longer active.
A repost will be most welcomed!
Thanks a lot, Isabel

isabelbc said...

new link

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