Published: July 2011
This is a brilliant new survey of progressive rock, from its roots through to more contemporary artists who share similar traits including Sonic Youth and Radiohead. A sleeping new study, "Beyond and Before" considers the high period of the early to mid-1970s, where there was widespread acceptance of the 'progressive' approach of detailed instrumentation, extended tracks and conceptual linkage and development across albums. Hegarty and Halliwell assess the roots of progressive rock, arguing convincingly that a fusion of styles, approaches and genres defined the 1970s period, and the authors develop tools to assess other, later progressive musics. Each set of connections are justified and grounded by close textual readings of musical works, a consideration of their material presentation, and an examination of performance and cultural contexts. Through close analysis, the authors show that something 'progressive' underpins many subgenres of rock.
Featuring discussions not just of the obvious subjects and albums, but also of music by artists as diverse as Kate Bush, Talk Talk, Mars Volta, Tortoise, Joanna Newsom, Sonic Youth and Radiohead, "Beyond and Before" is ideal reading for anyone who's interested in exploring the history and meaning of progressive rock in all its forms.