A lot of my favorite music came from the 1970's progressive
rock scene, early Genesis(Peter Gabriel era), Jethro Tull, Yes
and Kansas rank among the top ten. The level of creativity these
artists brought to their music has been a source of fascination
to me for years. There was also a lot of music from the 1960's that
has stayed with me over the years, The Beatles, especially "Sargent
Peppers" and the "White Album". The experimental approach these
people used has always inspired me to seek out more new artists that
are doing something different and ultimately to bring something
different to my own music. Toward the end of the 1970's and into the 1980's
we saw the emergence of "New Wave", a sort of catch all for anything that wasn't
punk or hard rock. One of these bands that caught my attention early on was Devo,
I had heard some of there music on college radio and went to see them live
in Vancouver where I witnessed a show unlike anything I had ever seen. As the
80's wore on I got into the Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen and various other
acts that were going in a different direction for the times but the one band from this era that had probably the most influence me(and a lot of other people, bands, artists etc..)was Joy Division. The first time I heard them was when I caught the last half
of a song on a college radio station that I was enthralled with immediately. I learned
later that the song was "Decades" from what was to be their last album "Closer".
Coming into their own just as punk was starting to waver they were paired up with a
brilliant producer in Martin Hannett, who captured their punk level of energy and
made it into something dark and mysterious. Two albums and a handful of singles makes up the entire catalogue, but the lasting influence on other artists is still felt
today. The most recent act that has caught my attention is Sigur Ros, a curious
group from Iceland that make music that has been called "otherworldly" by critics.
Very understated melodies and moods with the lead singers high voice floating
over top, in what I thought was Icelandic but learned later that he makes up most of the words using a vocalizing approach that some have said was a made-up language.
I'll have to revisit this topic in another post, there's so many other artists
that are worthy of mention.