I’ve been spinning various ideas around my brain since late November. What to do for FAWM 2016? It’s a FAWM Leap Year so I know I have to do 14½ songs (I always enjoy making an ½ song). I’ve thought of doing a bunch of covers “in a Space Rock Style” with my own compositions to fill out the required 14½. I’ve also thought of just letting my muse lead me (like last year – which produced fabulous results). But the thought I’ve sort of centered on in the last couple of days (influenced no doubt by the passing of the late-great David Bowie) is to finally record my first Concept album – one I conceived of twenty years ago now. Bowie’s Space Oddity was one of the prime influences for the story line with a healthy helping of Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive (arguably the first Space Rock song) & Atom Heart Mother (a “back catalogue epic” that is rarely heard except by crazy Floydish Fans like me) adding musical flavour & structure.
The concept album is called Beyond The Bounds Of Time & consists of nine songs (many of which have free-form jam sections that keep changing every time I play them). I know the idea is “Feburary Album WRITING Month”, but I find that February & March is the only time I delve deep into the recording process. If I don’t record this album during FAWM, it’ll never get recorded – & it’s already waited twenty years. I plan on filling out the rest of my required songs with my usual “Live-To-Tape” Improvs as well as Collabs (I’m sure Johnny will inspire another song with his always lyrics comments).
Progressive Rock has had a strange history. From its early days in England in the late ’60’s, its arena-rock success of the early 70’s to its cultish status since its heyday; Prog Rock has seen a lot of changes. Some of the Prog Rock bands have had a lasting influence on music, whilst others are so obscure even the most knowledgeable music guru takes pains to think of one of their songs. There has been much criticism of Prog over the years – both negative & positive. That the musicians are talented & highly skilled has never been in doubt. That they can be seen as pretentious and flamboyant, perhaps. But Prog Rock has always enraptured my imagination because of its artistry – the way it uses music to tell stories & build pictures in the listener’s head. Plus, I’ve always liked the idea that some songs just need to be longer then four or five minutes.
I used to play a bit of a game with some friends of mine – something to just pass the time. We would imagine we were stuck on a deserted island with a single ninety minute mix tape as our only musical solace. The game was to pick the songs that we would put on that Deserted Island Mix Tape. I always laughed that mine wouldn’t hold all of my “must have” songs – since most of them were beyond the six minute mark. Well, the below list is my Prog Rock Desert Island Mix – if I could only have ten Prog Rock songs, these would be them.