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lunes, 7 de febrero de 2011

Progressive Rock: New Levels of Artistic Credibility

The Rock music genre has many sub-genres, some very popular, some not so popular, but without doubt, the Progressive Rock is a complex and delightful sub-genre.

Developed in the late 60's and the early 70's, Prog Rock (another way to call the Progressive Rock sub-genre) pushed "rock's technical and compositional boundaries" and  "...explored extended musical structures which involved intricate instrumental patterns and textures and often esoteric subject matter."

But not only that, the Prog Rock also includes elements from jazz, world music, even classical music! Instrumental are more common, but it also has lyrics, which often talk about abstract, fantastical, conceptual or strange things.

The concept albums are also ordinary in Prog Rock, which regularly talk about epic stories, like Rush's 2112. They are, frequently, long and may seem boring for many people, but a real Prog Rock fan will love them.

The precursors or Prog Rock may be Bob Dylan, The Mother's Invention and The Beatles, with poetry, Freak Out! and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, respectively, showing a great art with their rock, bur earlier Beatles's albums also incorporated elements like unusual instruments.

Progressive Rock peaked it's popularity in the mid 70's, when the Prog Rock band's albums topped the charts, and the bands themselves did too. Many Prog. Rock bans were formed in this period, and some, like Kansas, became one of the most successful bands of Progressive Rock.

After it's peak, in the years 1976-1977 Progressive Rock started to decay; listeners no longer had patient for 30 minutes suites inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and preferred Punk music

In early 80's Prog Rock saw a revival, with bands influenced by 70's bands but with new elements. The bands belonging to this period are often called Neo-Progressive or Neo-Prog.

Many Neo Progressive bands made their music simplified and making it more commercial. 

Progressive Rock was an inspiration for Progressive Metal and for bands like Dream Theater or the more extreme Opeth.

lunes, 10 de enero de 2011

Book Review: God's Crucible by David Lewis

Of Caliphs and Kings
New York University professor Davis Lewis show how the Muslims, who forged a world for themselves out of the decay of the Roman and Persian empires, repeatedly challenged the Christians of Europe, pushing at their homelands' borders and receiving aggressive resistance in return.

The Muslims created Al Andalus, Islamic Spain; Charlemagne created a cohesive Christian Europe; and even today the world lives with the consequences.

Lewis is a prodigious scholar, and his book is compelling not for its story but because of the need of the present to understand the past.

Buy God's Crucible: Islam and the making of Europe, 570-1215, by David Lewis (W. W. Norton, 2008)

domingo, 2 de enero de 2011

La gente celebra la época navideña... nadando casi desnuda en aguas congeladas

Cualquier día es bueno para estar desnudo o al menos casi desnudo. Pero las fiestas dicembrinas parecen sacar el nudista interior que mucha gente lleva dentro con tradiciones por todo el mundo que muestran más piel que en muchas otras ocasiones más adecuadas.

Desde el famoso chapuzón del Oso Polar de Coney Island, en Nueva York, hasta el salto de fé navideño celebrado en Berlín, he aquí una galería de fotos de los mejores nadadores congelados de la pasada semana: "Chapuzones Polares y Nado Invernal" reunidas por el periodista Buck Wolf.