prog rock deep cuts: have a cigar

“Today, you have two camps in modern prog. You have the people who try and sound like they are making records from 1972, and those who assimilate a lot of those different styles.

But it’s a lot of the newer, avant, stuff that I really love because that’s really on the cutting edge of progressive music.”

West Virginia-based DJ, Ian Beabout, is a self-confessed “musical sponge”. Weaned on the likes of Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, his musical epiphany came with the discovery of Frank Zappa while in his teens. Zappa, with his influences stretching from Stravinsky and Varèse to doo-wop, played a pivotal role in dictating how Ian can create his own “instant composition” in his weekly Prog Rock Deep Cuts show.

“It’s all about variety,” he enthuses. “For me, I like to take new stuff and put it next to older stuff and I like to play jazz next to a disco tune – surprising the listeners and stretching my own comfort zone.”

When Prog catches up with Ian, he’s in New York to see French experimentalists Magma, and staying with PRDC co-host Mike Lieto. Ian and Mike, 22 and 24 respectively, are entirely immersed in prog, but haven’t always found sympathetic ears among their friends. “Most of the time they have no idea what I’m listening to,” Mike admits.

Obviously pleased to have found like-minded souls, their enthusiasm is infectious. The interview is regularly, but pleasantly derailed to share thoughts on The Dreaming-era Kate Bush, Rock In Opposition, Steven Wilson and Indonesian fusion music.

This thirst for musical exploration is clearly a driving point behind Ian’s mission and future plans for the Thursday evening show. He may regret its name – “I feel like if I’d called it something else, it might have appealed to a lot of different people,” – but it’s a temporary wobble.

“The way I see this show, in the two host format, is like when you bring over a couple of new albums to your friend. Then your buddy will recommend something, and it becomes this whole sharing thing.”

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