Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time for some music

I just discovered Singing Bear's blog, Action-Time-Vision, and all you music lovers out there might want to take a peek. While perusing the aforementioned blog, I was reminded of old Genesis (you know, back when Peter Gabriel was still in the group) for about the third time in the last month (one time at The Pagan Sphinx, once at Action-Time-Vision, and ... I can't remember where else). In my teens and early twenties they were one of my favorites. Here's the first song I ever heard by them, The Musical Box from the album Nursery Cryme. I remember first hearing it and being blown away. Superb musicianship along with a large helping of creativity and sonic coolness, plus bizarre and sometimes disturbing lyrics. Note that guitarist Steve Hackett occasionally uses both hands to fret the notes (actually, he fretted with the pick in his right hand and the fingers of his left hand). This video was made years before Eddie Van Halen allegedly invented the technique. Enjoy.

Pet Peeve Alert!!! One thing I can't stand about most music videos. Let's say the guitar player is playing something cool. So what does the camera do? Zooms in on the singer banging on a tambourine, of course. Or they show the guitarist's right hand when it's the left hand that's doing the interesting bit. Drives me crazy.

Additional thought added on 9/14/08: Many of the "Prog Rock" groups of that era have been criticized for being overly pretentious, among other things. While I think that is true in varying degrees for different bands, I always thought of Gabriel-era Genesis as being sort of Punk/Prog. There is an edge to much of their material that sets them apart from many of the others. Their playing was also very musical, rather than an attempt to show off how complicated and technically skilled they were. As an example, Steve Hackett's guitar solos were usually actual melodies rather than "diddley diddley diddley WHEEE". Hackett, keyboardist/guitarist Tony Banks and bassist/guitarist Michael Rutherford worked very well together in an orchestral sense. It was sometimes difficult to figure out who was doing what; often, some combination of Hackett, Banks and Rutherford would play in unison or harmony creating a massive sound; sometimes a melodic passage would begin with one person and shift to another in the middle. Banks liked to use guitar effects (distortion, phase shifting, delay, etc.) on his keyboards while playing a part that complimented the guitar, while Hackett would use effects on his guitar (volume pedal with distortion, phasing shifting and delay) that made it sound somewhat keyboard-like. A very unusual way of playing together, particularly for the time.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug, Ed. I'm very grateful. I'd like to link to your very intersting blog. May I?

Unknown said...

I'm glad you discovered Action-Time-Vision! That's why I like these blog awards; it's a way to draw people to good sites. I suppose there are other ways of doing that, but I tend to forget to do it on my own, and the award acts as a reminder.

I know just what you mean about music videos. That's one reason I got the little jukebox for my blog. Though the jukebox does require a massive library to draw from, which I don't have. So I do use Youtube from time to time.

As for the award. As I said, there is never any obligation.

gomonkeygo said...

Ed - want some early Genesis boots? I got a handful of them a few years ago when I was going through an exploratory prog phase. Some of them are pretty decent.

Ed said...

Singing Bear: No problem. I was pleased to find your blog. I'll need to spend some more time exploring it. And of course you may link to me.

Pagan: I admit, it was your award that inspired me to finally get my virtual butt over to Singing Bear's blog. Thanks for that.

Gomonkeygo: Early Genesis boots would be awesome!

Anonymous said...


Works for me.

Thanks for this: it's awesome.