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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]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

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, not dancing.

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.



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]

Postmodernism is characterized by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward the meta-narratives and ideologies of modernism, often calling into question various assumptions of Enlightenment rationality. Postmodernism developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism and represented a departure or rejection of modernism.

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Frank Zappa American musician

Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, composer, activist and filmmaker. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.

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]

Robert Fripp English guitarist, composer and record producer

Robert Fripp is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King Crimson's line-ups from their inception in the late 1960s to the present. He has also worked extensively as a studio musician, notably with David Bowie on the albums "Heroes" and Scary Monsters , Brian Eno, David Sylvian and contributed sounds to the Windows Vista operating system. His complete discography lists more than seven hundred releases over five decades.

Progressive music type of music that emphasizes form and stylistic variety

Progressive music is music that attempts to expand existing stylistic boundaries associated with specific genres of music. The word comes from the basic concept of "progress", which refers to development and growth by accumulation, and is often deployed in the context of distinct genres such as progressive country, progressive folk, progressive jazz, and progressive rock. Music that is deemed "progressive" usually synthesizes influences from various cultural domains, such as European art music, Celtic folk, West Indian, or African. It is rooted in the idea of a cultural alternative and may also be associated with auteur-stars and concept albums, considered traditional structures of the music industry.

Classical music broad tradition of Western art music

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

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]

Free jazz is an approach to jazz that developed in the 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting. They became preoccupied with creating something new. Free jazz has often been combined with or substituted for the term "avant-garde jazz". Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".

Art music serious music, as opposed to popular or folk music

Art music is music that implies advanced structural and theoretical considerations or a written musical tradition. The terms "serious" or "cultivated" are frequently used in relation to music in order to present a contrast with ordinary, everyday music. At the beginning of the 20th century art music was divided into "serious music" and "light music".

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.


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]

Bill Martin is a professor of Philosophy at DePaul University whose academic work concerns Derrida, Sartre, Marxist theory, Aesthetics, and critiques of Richard Rorty. Martin has also written on progressive rock bands including Yes.

Bill Laswell American musician

William Otis Laswell is an American bass guitarist, record producer, and record label owner. He has been involved in thousands of recordings with many collaborators from all over the world. His music draws from funk, world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles.

Peter Gabriel English singer-songwriter, record producer and humanitarian

Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving Genesis in 1975, Gabriel launched a successful solo career with "Solsbury Hill" as his first single. His 1986 album, So, is his best-selling release and is certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U.S. The album's most successful single, "Sledgehammer", won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards and, according to a report in 2011, it was MTV's most played music video of all time.

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]

Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke, brothers Jonny Greenwood and Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. They have worked with producer Nigel Godrich and cover artist Stanley Donwood since 1994.

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King Crimson British art rock band

King Crimson are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968. King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and numerous contemporary artists. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history, in the course of which 22 musicians have been members; since October 2017 it has consisted of Robert Fripp, Jakko Jakszyk, Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison, Jeremy Stacey and Bill Rieflin. Fripp is the only consistent member of the group and is considered the band's leader and driving force. The band has earned a large cult following. They were ranked No. 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Although considered to be a seminal progressive rock band, they have often distanced themselves from the genre: as well as influencing several generations of progressive and psychedelic rock bands, they have also been an influence on subsequent alternative metal, hardcore and experimental/noise musicians.

<i>Larks Tongues in Aspic</i> 1973 studio album by King Crimson

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is the fifth studio album by the English progressive rock group King Crimson, released on 23 March 1973 through Island Records. This album is the debut of King Crimson's fifth incarnation, featuring original member and guitarist Robert Fripp and new members John Wetton, David Cross, Jamie Muir (percussion), and Bill Bruford (drums). It is also a key album in the band's evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation as central influences. The name refers to a traditional English delicacy, Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Greg Lake English bassist, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer

Gregory Stuart Lake was an English bassist, guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer. He gained prominence as a founding member of the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).

Neo-progressive rock is a subgenre of progressive rock, which developed in the UK and achieved popularity in the 1980s. Several bands from the genre have continued to record and tour.

<i>In the Court of the Crimson King</i> 1969 studio album by King Crimson

In the Court of the Crimson King is the debut album from the English rock band King Crimson, released on 10 October 1969 on Island Records in England and Atlantic Records in America. The album is one of the first and most influential of the progressive rock genre, where the band largely departed from the blues influences that rock music was founded upon and combined elements of jazz, classical, and symphonic music.

<i>Discipline</i> (King Crimson album) 1981 studio album by King Crimson

Discipline is the eighth studio album by English progressive rock band King Crimson, released on 22 September 1981 by E.G. Records in the United Kingdom and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. This album was King Crimson's first album following a seven-year hiatus. Only founder Robert Fripp and later addition Bill Bruford remained from previous incarnations. The rest of the band were American musicians Adrian Belew and Tony Levin. The album resulted in a more updated 1980s new wave-oriented sound.

<i>Red</i> (King Crimson album) 1974 studio album by King Crimson

Red is the seventh studio album by English progressive rock group King Crimson, released in 1974 by Island Records in the United Kingdom and by Atlantic Records in the United States. It was their last studio recording of the 1970s and the last before lead member Robert Fripp temporarily disbanded the group. Though their lowest-charting album at the time, spending only one week in the UK charts, Red has received critical acclaim.

Discipline Global Mobile

Discipline Global Mobile is an independent record label founded in 1992 by Robert Fripp and producer/online content developer David Singleton. DGM has released solo music by Fripp as well as work by various affiliated musicians and bands including King Crimson, The Vicar, the California Guitar Trio and others. The label has offices in Salisbury, England, and Los Angeles, California;

"Epitaph" is the third track on British progressive rock band King Crimson's 1969 album In the Court of the Crimson King. It was written by Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, and Michael Giles with lyrics written by Peter Sinfield.

"Moonchild" is the fourth track from the British progressive rock band King Crimson's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King.

Larks Tongues in Aspic (instrumental) 2009 song performed by King Crimson

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is a suite of music by the English progressive rock band King Crimson. Spanning thirty years and four albums, the series comprises five parts, all of which carry unifying musical motifs. Parts I and II were released as the introductory and final tracks on King Crimson's 1973 album of the same name, part III was featured on their 1984 album Three of a Perfect Pair, part IV appeared on 2000's The Construkction of Light, and the final part, "Level Five", was included on the 2003 album The Power to Believe. Despite breaking the naming convention, Robert Fripp, King Crimson founder and only constant contributor to the suite, insists that "Level Five" is part of the pentalogy.

This is a timeline of artists, albums, and events in progressive rock and its subgenres. This article contains the timeline for the period 1970–1979.

This is a timeline of artists, albums, and events in progressive rock and its subgenres. This article contains the timeline for the period 1980 - 1989.

Experimental rock is a subgenre of rock music which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.

Proto-prog is the earliest work associated with the first wave of progressive rock music, known then as "progressive pop". Such musicians were influenced by modern classical and other genres usually outside of traditional rock influences. They often employed longer and more complicated compositions, interconnected songs as medley, and studio composition. Some of the artists that were essential to the development of progressive rock, rather than just anticipating the movement, include the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Doors, the Pretty Things, the Zombies, the Byrds, the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd.

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 3 4 Holm-Hudson 2013, p. 16.
  8. Cotner 2000, p. 101.
  9. Macan 1997, p. 206.
  10. Holm-Hudson 2013, p. 275.
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  12. 1 2 3 Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 225.
  13. Martin 1998, p. 20.
  14. 1 2 Martin 1998, p. 251.
  15. Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 235.
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