Fred Frith
Traffic Continues
The Great Deceiver (Live 1973-1974)
Lars Hollmer

Pop/Rock » Art-Rock/Experimental » Avant-Prog

Avant-Prog is short for avant-garde progressive rock. This style appeared in the late 1970s as the extension of two separate prog rock sub-styles: Rock in Opposition (RIO) and prog of the Canterbury scene. The latter, with groups like Egg, Soft Machine, Caravan, and Hatfield & the North (all based in or around the town of Canterbury, England), favored complex compositions bridging classical, rock and jazz idioms, often wrapped in a very British sense of humor that eschewed the typical science-fiction/mystical themes of mainstream prog rock. RIO was a semi-organized movement of the late 1970s regrouping the rock-based avant-garde groups Henry Cow, Etron Fou Leloublan, Univers Zero, Samla Mammas Manna, and Stormy Six. RIO is a term restricted to temporal limits; Canterbury prog to geographical limits. The late 1970s onward saw the development of an avant-prog scene often functioning in the margin of mainstream prog. A host of groups and artists mainly from the USA, but also from Europe and Japan, started to write mostly short instrumental pieces that focused on complexity and stripped down instrumentation, while avoiding the pomposity and stage props of the big prog acts. Some groups (Thinking Plague and the Motor Totemist Guild, for instance) kept working with epic durations and rich instrumentation but also forayed into free improvisation, sound collage, and other avant-garde techniques. These artists found homes in record labels such as Cuneiform (USA), Recommended (later ReR Megacorp, England) and Rec Rec (Switzerland). Best known groups include Doctor Nerve, Forever Einstein, News from Babel, Miriodor, Boud Deun, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, and The Muffins.

Avant-Prog Artists Highlights

Fred Frith
Fred Frith
Lars Hollmer
Lars Hollmer
Henry Cow
Henry Cow
Soft Machine
Soft Machine
Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp
Cédric Vuille
Cédric Vuille

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Avant-Prog Album Highlights

Traffic Continues
Fred Frith
Traffic Continues
The Great Deceiver (Live 1973-1974)
King Crimson
The Great Deceiver (Live ...
Third
Soft Machine
Third
The Letter
Cosa Brava / Fred Frith / ...
The Letter
Keep the Dog: That House We Lived In
Fred Frith
Keep the Dog: That House ...
The Coalition of the Willing
Bobby Previte
The Coalition of the ...

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Avant-Prog Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Traffic Continues: Traffic III/Traffic I Ensemble Modern
Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1 King Crimson
Moon in June Soft Machine
The Ministry of Love Bobby Previte
Thrak King Crimson
Rollo Frank Zappa
I May Not Have Had Enough of Me But I've Had Enough of You Robert Fripp
Half Asleep; Half Awake Henry Cow
Danses Mecaniques
Art Zoyd
Villanzyats Ruins

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Other Styles in Art-Rock/Experimental