Andrzej Mądro: Academy of Music in Kraków (Poland)
From Psychedelia to Djent – Progressive Genres as a Paradox of Pop Culture
ABSTRACT: Progressive rock has, as a popular music genre from the very beginning, separated itself from pop culture extensively. It wanted to be the elite, the modern, and the innovative in new forms of art. Ideas of “art rock” do not expire and with time gave rise to the new, transgressive trends: neo-progressive in the 80s, progressive metal and mathcore in the 90s, and, recently, djent. At the expense of greater commercial success, many bands still cut off from the rock-metal mainstream and operate independently, incessantly exceeding stylistic and aesthetical boundaries. Moreover, poetics of their music often reveals a tension between elitism and egalitarianism, intellect and corporeality, individuality and conventions. During the last few decades also classical music crossed the limits of the traditional, even modernistic aesthetics. So if nowadays we consider music that is minimal, electronic, neoromantic or other postmodern trends as “classical”, how should we regard progressive genres? Can they be seen as synthesis of two worlds: classical and rock, or are they being created a thick frontier between art and pop culture? Who is to say whether rock opera should be interpreted as a cluster of songs or as a musical drama?