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Post-progressive is a type of rock music [1] distinguished from vintage progressive rock styles, specifically 1970s prog. [2] Post-progressive draws upon newer developments in popular music and the avant-garde since the mid-1970s. [2] It especially draws from ethnic musics and minimalism, elements which were new to rock music. [3] [4] It is different from neo-progressive rock in that neo-prog pastiches 1970s prog, while "post-progressive" identifies progressive rock music that stems from sources other than prog. [2]



As Robert Fripp was all too aware, we cannot keep referring back to 1974, either negatively or positively, in order to find out what progressive rock later became. If we do refer back, then we should not use the classic phase of progressive rock as a fixed point to determine what was to follow.

Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell [5]

"Post-progressive" is rock music which distinguishes itself from the persistent style of 1970s prog, seeking a return to the genre's original principles. [2] The "post" is meant to acknowledge the development of other forms of avant-garde and popular music since the mid 1970s; it does not reference "postmodernism". [2] Purveyors explicitly embrace new computer technologies and sounds. [6] Some post-progressive bands still draw upon selective aspects of vintage prog, even as they actively seek to distance themselves from the style. [7] Particular influences on latter-20th century post-progressive artists include Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, the Beatles, and King Crimson. [8]

In the opinion of King Crimson's Robert Fripp, progressive music was an attitude, not a style. He believed that genuinely "progressive" music pushes stylistic and conceptual boundaries outwards through the appropriation of procedures from classical music or jazz, and that once "progressive rock" ceased to cover new ground – becoming a set of conventions to be repeated and imitated – the genre's premise had ceased to be "progressive". [9] According to Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell, post-progressive did not directly derive from psychedelia, folk, and jazz as prog rock did, instead citing "explicit reference points of post-progressive music" lying within ambient, folk rock, forms of jazz, krautrock, the minimalism of New York art rock, and electronic music. [2]

David Sylvian performing with Japan, 1979 David Sylvian 1978.jpg
David Sylvian performing with Japan, 1979

Academic Kevin Holm-Hudson argues that "progressive rock is a style far more diverse than what is heard from its mainstream groups and what is implied by unsympathetic critics ... [one may] wonder where progressive rock 'ends' and becomes psychedelia, free jazz, experimental art music, or heavy metal." [7] He categorizes post-progressive as a subgenre of progressive rock, whereas post-rock is a subgenre of alternative rock. [10] Nosound's Giancarlo Erra believes that "post-prog"—deployed by the label Kscope—denotes a mixture of progressive rock and post-rock. [11] Hegarty and Halliwell note: "Post-progressive identifies progressive rock that stems from sources other than progressive rock. This does not spread the net to include all avant-rock from the 1980s and 1990s ... post-progressive rock feeds a more explicit return to prog: in other words, a return that is not one. This trend is best exemplified by two British avant-rock acts of the 1980s and early 1990s: David Sylvian and Talk Talk." [12]


Brian Eno in the 1970s Brian Eno - TopPop 1974 03.png
Brian Eno in the 1970s

Post-progressive's beginning may be located after 1978. [13] Author Bill Martin argues that Robert Fripp, Bill Laswell, and Peter Gabriel could all be considered transitional figures in post-progressive rock, crediting Brian Eno as the music's most important catalyst, and explaining that his 1973–77 solo albums merged "warped aspects of progressive rock" with "a strange premonition of punk" and "the first approximations of new wave". [14] Additionally, Talking Heads expanded new wave by combining the urgency of punk rock with the sophistication of progressive rock, as Martin writes: "A good deal of the more interesting rock since that time is clearly 'post-Talking Heads' music, but that means it is post-progressive rock as well." [14] After the 1970s, the post-progressive style followed in the traditions of King Crimson's 1981 album Discipline , with its introduction of minimalism and ethnic musics, elements which were new to rock. [3]

Hegarty and Halliwell credit Radiohead for creating "a new wave of progressiveness", explaining that "Radiohead's reintegration of rock into a post-progressive context ... they did not need to refer back to the sounds or styles of 1970s prog rock in order to make authentic progressive rock." [15]

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Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.

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Neo-progressive rock is a subgenre of progressive rock which developed in the UK in the early 1980s. The genre's most popular band, Marillion, achieved mainstream success in the decade. Several bands from the genre have continued to record and tour.

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Progressive rock is subgenre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid to late 1960s. Progressive rock, which initially had classical music influences, has come to include other fusions of music styles including jazz fusion, metal and folk rock musics. Progressive rock is an approach that combines elements of diverse styles. Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, explains that "Prog is not just a sound, it's a mindset." Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci outlines that Progressive rock is defined by its very lack of stylistic boundaries. The advent of the concept album, plus the genre's roots in psychedelia, led albums and performances to be viewed as combined presentations of music, lyrics, and visuals.


  1. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011 , p. 224: "The term ‘post-progressive’ is designed to distinguish a type of rock music" Holm-Hudson 2013 , pp. 16, 225, 275: post-progressive as a subgenre of progressive rock (see index) Bruford 2009 , p. 125: post-progressive as a style of music distinct from the neo-progressive movement Macan 1997 , p. 179: "A number of new bands have cultivated what might be termed a post-progressive style ..."
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 224.
  3. 1 2 Bruford 2009, p. 125.
  4. Macan 1997, p. 179.
  5. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 223.
  6. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 233.
  7. 1 2 Holm-Hudson 2013, p. 16.
  8. Cotner 2000, p. 101.
  9. Macan 1997, p. 206.
  10. Holm-Hudson 2013, p. 275.
  11. Blum, Jordan (May 28, 2013). "Alone with His 'Afterthoughts': An Interview with Nosound's Giancarlo Erra". Popmatters .
  12. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 225.
  13. Martin 1998, p. 20.
  14. 1 2 Martin 1998, p. 251.
  15. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 235.