Saw Yes (featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman) at the sumptuous Mountain Winery last night. I have always been a progressive rock fan and have seen Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and myriad prog rockers countless times over the years.
What frosts my gnarlies is the critics’ easy wash of prog as “sci-fi/fantasy music.” Because it ain’t. As a musician (jazz) I appreciate composition, arrangement, dynamics, and melody/harmony. Just because a record jacket was designed by Roger Dean or Hipgnosis doesn’t make it “sci-fi.”
I was reminded of that last night when the band played one of their signature songs under an enhanced arrangement that was unexpected and gorgeous, much more Sibelius than Stanislaw Lem. I think this is what we writers strive for in our own craft, taking tropes and turning them on their ear so everything is new again. That is craft. That is imagination. I couldn’t conceive of working any other way.