Through his musical endeavours with Trippa, Cyan, Kiama and of course Magenta, not to mention an increasingly fruitful and diverse solo career, Rob Reed is one of today’s premier Welsh progressive musicians. So as we celebrate St. David’s Day, and given Wales’ rich musical heritage, what better, we thought, than to ask him to choose his six favourite Welsh prog bands. Iechyd da…
The most famous welsh progressive band. Amazing players. A mix of rock, prog and blues. They should have been bigger really, but it’s a Welsh thing. Man were one of the local legends, a band that that had a record deal. A rare thing for a Welsh band in the 1970’s. It wasn’t as pretty as bands like Genesis, but I think musically it reflected where they were from. It was also one of the first live bands I saw. Two hours of this mad rock. Each song would start normally , then go into a frenzy instrumental section. No keyboards though! You cant have everything!!
The youth end of Welsh prog . Ryan Elliott who writes and sings and plays guitar is a genius. Great to see young players coming through and mixing a more modern rock element like Steve Wilson and Goldfrapp, but still influenced by the prog greats. I came across this band, well Ryan really, when he was playing a local festival, to mums and dads, on his own standing on a big stage, playing to a backing track. But his guitar playing is amazing. I then decide to help him out, wherever and whenever I can. It’s great to see a new generation of players, writers coming through.
Andy Edwards was the lead singer. Again a band that should have done more. Great songs and a more Floyd type of sound. Andy is also great guitarist. The three albums all sounded really good, well produced and a high quality to their song writing. Ezra where around the same time as Magenta started, and I just loved their music, and mixed their first album, then they learned everything and didn’t need me. They have made three albums, each one getting better and better. It’s all about the songs and Andy has a great Dave Gilmour delivery to his voice. I wish they would get back together…
The Othello Syndrome
A three piece band. I loved their quirky take on everything. A lot of Peter Hammill, VdGG influence. A really distinctive voice, and unusual arrangements. This band were made up of two local guys, who I knew in school. Paul Williams the singer , just used to crack me up, with his mad take on everything. I tried to play keyboards on their album, but was way to normal. Also not many people local people were into VdGG, as it’s an acquired taste, so we had both had similar musical interests. I know they recorded a second album, but it never was finished. A pity, as it was even madder than the first!
25 Yard Screamer
This lot are a new, three piece band. A fantastic lead singer, very much in the Steve Hogarth mould. A much more heavy rock influence to their sound. I’m a sucker for anybody who sounds like H, so I immediately liked this band. It’s not as polished as most recordings, but the music is really good. I’ve yet to see them live, but I know their planning on some shows this year.
This is a real curveball, but is one of the REALLY progressive artists in Wales at the moment, mixing electronica with Peter Hamill vocals. Outrageous, controversial, but musically challenging. I love it. Tim Lewis the main man, is again a local Rhondda lad, but has played with Spirtualized, Julian Cope, Liz Frazer. Their live shows are even more controversial than their records, which are pretty bizarre. Tim is also a fantastic engineer and producer, so the records are sonically amazing. The true sense of progressive music if you ask me…