No rules, no scales

Increasing popularity

No rules, no scales

Living in a city that is home to diverse styles of music, Bengalureans have always kept themselves open to all sorts of notes and beats.

Be it rock or metal, contemporary or classical, music has always found a platform here and new styles have been generated and experimented with. The city has recently seen a increase of progressive rock bands, which indicates the rising interest in this form of music.

Rock music has gone through many transformations and progressive rock is the latest addition to make its presence felt, says Yogeendra Hariprasad, who is the vocalist of ‘Pineapple Express’. “Progressive music is music without rules and I have always loved to break rules. One isn’t bound by structure or scales in this form, which allows a complete artistic expression of one’s creativity. The music allows one to express themselves as they are and however they want to,” he says.

The listeners are a big reason for the increasing popularity of the genre, he vouches. “The audience is increasingly becoming more and more intelligent, in respect to how they perceive music, be it the scale, complex grooves or lyrics. Progressive rock talks about subjects that mainstream music doesn’t talk about, like space and philosophy. The appreciation towards complex art is increasing, thus the acceptance for this genre,” he adds.

The last edition of the ‘NH7 Weekender’ was headlined by Steven Wilson, a progressive rock artiste, along with ‘Aristocrat’, which clearly show the preferences of the city’s audience, vouch artistes.

Vats Iyengar, who is a part of the band ‘Rainburn’, feels that this genre is picking up not just in Bengaluru but across the country. “We just did a five-city tour with our band and were well appreciated for the same. The thing about progressive rock music is that it has been a niche genre. It has a certain character to it that appeals to a more musically inclined and educated audience,” he says.

The nature of progressive rock music demands a certain dedication, like in jazz or classical music. “The lyrics, structure and rhythm are different from the usual. For someone who wants to get into this genre, he would need a fairly defined taste,” says Vats.

He observes that the audience for live shows have been dwindling in general. “People who are willing to go out for a live act, be it for a DJ act or a band performance, are people who want to have a quality time. Progressive rock music requires the audience to be more involved, which has helped it in spreading beyond what it was. We are left with people who would like to understand the nuances of music and live setting, which is why this music is being appreciated more and more,” Vats adds.

The reasons might be many, says Jose Xavier, vocalist with ‘Dark Light’. “Though one might not be able to pinpoint specific reasons for the same, but there is a definite advent in progressive music. This genre is doing well because there is more scope for conceptual song-writing,” he points out.

Indians tend to be more philosophical, which also adds to the increasing interest, he says. “We are coming out with an album soon. Our music usually revolves around heartbreak and spirituality, which connects to people,” he says.

The genre by itself could be attracting attention because of its unique songwriting and instrumentation, which are more elaborate. “They differ from the normal format of a rock or pop song, which makes them stand out,” vouches Jose.

If one looks at the history of progressive music, there is a certain interest required for the genre, says Praveen Kumar, a member of ‘Agam’. “The music is one with no regular rhythm cycle and metre. The other reason why this genre is picking up is because it allows more creativity,” he says. People are ready to listen to new things and open to experimentation now. “This is also why progressive rock bands are gaining in popularity,” he adds.

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