On the matter of who we might "sound like"

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FredProgGH
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On the matter of who we might "sound like"

Post by FredProgGH » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:12 pm

I'm not going to jump into the fray responding personally, but this is inspired by some comments in the PE thread and Dave, you have my permission to happen to have seen a similar discussion over here and copy this over there if you want (make sure it's known that these are my comments about the music I've personally written and I'm not speaking for Steve or the band):

We have always worn our influences on our sleeve as a band. We are prog, the genre, not prog, the literal definition. Of course, we want to have our own voice but a certain amount of "homage" is par for the course. This happens in a few ways.

The first is that I write a part and realize that it's reminiscent of something I've heard. I generally then disguise it and no one is the wiser. Often it's vague enough that no one gets it even when I point it out (ever notice that the bridge to Junkyard Angels has the same chord progression as Bellboy by The Who?? Neither has anyone else...) Or, if I like it I just go with it and consider it a tribute to whatever inspired it. The end of Tales Of The Great Wars is a good example of this; it clearly had the flavor of Foxtrot era Genesis and rather than run from that I played it up by using a Tony Banks style organ sound and playing a very Phil-like drum part. It was what the song wanted, IMO. I LIKE those sounds and as a musician, I enjoy the technical process of paying tribute from time to time

On that note, I'm always amazed that people point to Chronometree as sounding derivative as if they only just noticed. That was our version of a tribute album, the way I thought it should be done- not pointlessly covering the songs of bands I like but writing new music in their style. Every note on that record is meant to be evocative of something classic. It came about because after years of playing organ parts on a Korg synth I got a real Hammond again and I wanted to use that sound- the Kieth sound made me write Kieth music and I wasn't ashamed for a second. And from there it became a celebration of most of our greater influences. There's even a direct quote from Close To The Edge in the opening synth solo on Chonotheme, but that's the only note-for-note homage. But really, anyone who looks at the lyrics or pictures for that album gets it pretty quick. It's a prog concept album ABOUT prog concept albums.

There are only two times in GH history I plagiarized something by accident and the PE thread busted one of them. One is that pizzicato string part in Behind The Great Beyond. I had that ascending bass line and that part just fit so well with it- I really didn't realize that I HAD HEARD IT BEFORE. Whoops. It was when the album came out someone went, "Hey, that's In The Presence Of by Yes!" Of course I had heard Magnification and it just didn't click that I was borrowing a part. It's not identical, but it's REAL close. The other is a song that you can only just now hear on The Compilations, called Morning Song. It opens up with the piano from Seven Seas Of Rhye by Queen. Just totally note-for-note. Again, how I could consciously forget a song I had heard for 30 years is a mystery, but there it is. (That one was caught by the same guy, BTW). The song was recorded and done at that point and it never got released anyway so I let it be. Of course, now it's out, but whatever *lol*

And that's it. I'm going to keep my opinions on what parts of CoA might or might not sound like any other well known band to myself. Personally I don't hear it but then, we are using a certain musical lexicon and, like a Rorschach test, people are going to "see" different things in the music. That's fine.
"The baloney is yodeling" -- [i]Jon Arbuckle[/i]

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Post by yeshead 777 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:08 am

Fred, I don't have near the memory or the musical mind to pick out parts of GH's music that sound just like or are reminiscent of parts of other songs.I could see how difficult it would be when you probably listen to so much different music,and have in you're lifetime. I have never neard a section or passage of you're music and said-hey that sounds just like that part in "so and so",more like that reminds me of, or you're keyboard sounds like Emerson's keys on this or that song(again mostly crhonometree).I think GH's music is as fresh and original(if not more) as any of the newer prog bands(which all have the same influences).Esp. COA! IMO,some of the early stuff like Journey ,Perelandra,OTE,etc. was a little more closely deritive of 70's prog and not quite as original.That's what make TIS Disc 2 and COA so great for me-they are TOTALLY original and are not deritive of any other GH or 70's prog!Again that's my opinion.If you didn't make music that "sounded like", or "reminded" us of our heroes-we'd probably never be as big as fans.And I guess their can be a fine like between "sounding like" and "ripping off".All in all, its a fine line, and we could pick thousands of examples of sections of every genre of music that have been close to if not completely ripped off-remember BB's comments about YIND being ripped off from Bonanza? Anyway, I think your comments come at the perfect time, because I think that COA is the most original piece of PROG in years(except SSOTS of course).Peace,David.
Art can "make people feel what's true rather than telling them".[Dan Haseltine,Jars of Clay].

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Post by Losfer Words » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:58 am

Ah well there's only one, err three things to do when that occurs.
:twisted: Kill the artist whose work you are accused of plagiarizing,
:D boldly announce your new age conversion,
:shock: and then say that you were merely channeling their disembodied spirit.

Unless your composing in an absolute vacuum, devoid of any music influences, it is inevitable you will subconsciously pull something out of the magic bag of tricks, without consciously realizing where you heard it before or that you are borrowing and not composing.
On a crystal morning I can see the dewdrops falling
Down from a gleaming heaven, I can hear the voices calling
When you comin' home now, son, this world is not for you

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Post by Elric » Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:21 pm

I am so glad you posted this Fred. I find myself whistling a tune at work, sometimes it is a song from 30+years ago that I hated, but for some reason those synaptic pathways misfire and there it is.

What is a big mystery to me is, I have probably listened to this CD over a hundred times now, and enjoy it very much. I mentioned to you there were parts that the organ sounds reminded me from the 70's Frampton era. That's all I have said. Why can't people just listen to music and enjoy it for what it is. I don't have to break it down at 11:43 and say this is from _____. I can say there are people out there that may consider themselves experts and critics. Well, they may be able to perform music. They may be able to compose a tune that is in no way reminiscent of anyone, but is it enjoyable? Is it listenable?

I went through a phase in my younger years and listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd(yes I admit it) non-stop, knew every lyric, every version of every song they did. I eventually quit them and got in to my metal phase. I just loved music. I NEVER criticized a band in any form or fashion until I heard the obvious Vanilla Ice ripoff of Queen or Tone Loc of Jamie's Crying.

These were obvious note for note rips. How can anyone take GH's music in a 10 sec spot and say this is from Kansas? Bleh. I can respect people for having an opinion, but to think their's is the opinion to be right just kills me.

JUST ENJOY THE MUSIC PEOPLE! Culture of Ascent is a masterpiece IMHO.(very humble)
Brent

Be kind to my mistakes, because I am not.....Kate Bush

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Post by Moog Taurus » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:50 pm

If it sounds good I play it , life is too short to be analysing pieces of music in that way.
My ears are the only critic I respond to and they have served me well so far.
Everyone is influenced by their environment , musicians are no different in my eyes.

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Post by yeshead 777 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:15 pm

Moog Taurus wrote:If it sounds good I play it , life is too short to be analysing pieces of music in that way.
My ears are the only critic I respond to and they have served me well so far.
Everyone is influenced by their environment , musicians are no different in my eyes.
Very well put-every word-I concur 100%!!!!!
Art can "make people feel what's true rather than telling them".[Dan Haseltine,Jars of Clay].

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Post by Caranthir Telemnar » Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:36 pm

There's nothing better than working on a song for hours, recording each track with care, mixing said song down and realizing it's someone else's song. I've done this on more occasions than I care to admit. Imagine my shock one day when my "genius" riff was actually a part from Rush's 'Hemispheres'.
That you have the talent to adapt your music and the honesty to admit when you've lifted (consciously or otherwise ) is a testament to your integrity as an artist. Since I've discovered GH a couple years back, I've been impressed by the craft, and have thought it was evocative but not derivative of other prog acts. I'm not a great musician, but I know music, and your work is inventive and complex. It knows when to shimmer and it knows when to "rawk"! Add to that, I detect keen senses of humor, which in my mind goes a long way to dismissing the usual cries of pretense. (a whole other cultural ball of wax!)
That said , I'm off to look for the 'Bell boy' riff!
"Historically speaking, music is based on theft." -Peter Gabriel-
Amin n'rangwa edanea

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Post by Octavian » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:49 pm

Here's some references that I hear. Fred already denied the Peter Gabriel one. :)

Lex Rex opening - Rush: Signals Era and Yes: The Remembering
Chronometree - Genesis: Can Utility and the Coast Liners and Peter Gabriel: Don't Give Up, also obviously ELP.
Shadowlands, Longer - Stravinsky, Firebird.
Culture opening of South Side - Dream Theater: The Great Debate

Peter Banks, first guitarist of Yes, loved to throw in riffs, like "I do like to be beside the Seaside" and Prokofiev's "Lieutenant Kieje".

I used to sing in a Church choir, and each service was begun and ended by an Organ improvisation, generally on one of the hymns. Certain organists would subtly include 'Happy Birthday' on the pedals whenever it was someone's.

Keep them coming, that's my view.

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