Steve Davis' Interesting Alternative

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Steve ponders which prog tunes we’ll be rocking out to in the nursing homes…

When I visited my parents’ house recently, my mother was listening to Radio 2 when The Rolling Stones piped up. Fifty years ago, the Beeb refused to acknowledge music like this and pirate radio stations braved the waves to give the people their fix. My father happily listens to the Stones now (while denouncing the “crud” of today) even though back in the 60s he would never have entertained Mick strutting his stuff.

Every musical decade produces brilliance and crap. Then, as the years tramp on, a dawning appreciation of what was the cream of the crop solidifies, even if it wasn’t actually considered that tasteful at the time. Comus and White Noise are cases in point for the 70s prog aficionado.

Prog (with a Capital “P”) magazine, by definition, celebrates nostalgia but knows full well the need for evolution. Our readers’ letters confirm this and are a mixture of those happy with a finite set of tunes and others who champion the cause of new bands boldly going where no prog artists have gone before.

In 200 years time, or perhaps even a long long time ago in a Cantina Bar somewhere not near you, what will (or was) music be like? Is it guaranteed that someone, somewhere on planet Earth will be singing Sweet Caroline or Stuck In The Middle With You? Let’s fast forward a split second of eternity, to just 30 years from now, when we are sitting in a nursing home (of our childrens’ choice) listening on implanted headphones to hopefully music of our choice! Some of us will still be cranking our jaw bone up to

11 for a bit of Genesis and others will be trying to keep up with new “stuff” and downloading it to the flash drive bolt on our new hip replacement. Two pieces of music very likely to be “hip ready” for me in 2045 (arthritic fingers crossed) will be these current gems: Holly Herndon’s incredible Platform album is a must! A cutting edge mash up of sampled vocals and foot-tapping rhythms. It dares to be different but at the same time is totally accessible, should you be prepared to give it a chance and let the unusual float around in your subconscious mind. Take a listen to Chorus for an introduction to the future…

In a similar vein is the amazing 12” track Pivot by Katie Gately. It’s a 14 minute epic that will have Delia Derbyshire jumping for joy on her electronic cloud in the afterlife. Imagine a more electronic version of a mix of Kate Bush and Björk. Apparently the whole track is made up of sampled vocals, but you would never believe it!

Catch Steve Davis’ Interesting Alternative Radio Show every Monday 10pm-midnight at www.Phoenixfm.com.