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History of Progressive Rock in Uzbekistan

Progressive rock (also known as prog rock or prog) is a genre of rock music that appeared in the late 60s in Great Britain. Also “art rock” is often used instead of «prog rock», but obviously having some crossovers between these genres, they do not mean the same.

The creation of this subgenre of rock music is an attempt of British rock groups to break traditional verse-chorus-based song structure. They were Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and many others bands that played uncommon compositions with influences of classical, jazz, psychedelic and folk music. Another feature of newborn art rock was using of conceptual, philosophical lyrics. The first proto-prog albums were “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” by Pink Floyd and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles that were released in 1967. And from that time creation of concept albums in progressive rock and art music had become a trend.

Nowadays there are a number of subgenres in prog rock such as neo-prog, prog fusion and many bands, playing these genres. In 2007 there were a lot of festivals to celebrate the 40 years anniversary of Progressive Rock “1967-2007″.

The key musical characteristics of progressive rock are:

• Uncommon song structure

• Irregular beats and complex time signatures

• Using a wide range of musical instruments like Moog synthesizer and the Mellotron

• Concept lyrics and theatrical elements

Development of progressive rock in Uzbekistan

Rock music appeared in Uzbekistan in 1960’s when Uzbek people started listening to Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and the Beatles and created first local semi-professional rock bands. But prog appeared much later. First Uzbek prog/art rock band was Rare Bird created by Albert Khalmurzaev, Viktor Sinko and Valery Vorobiev in 1988 in Tashkent. First their concert was acoustic art rock show in memory of John Lennon. In 1990 band recorded debut album “Music for Relatives” and in 1991 band gave first concert using electric instruments, like guitar, bass and synths. Then was the musical “Scarlet Sails”. In the beginning of 90’s band performed several times at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan and quit in 1995.

Another Uzbek progressive rock band was Edgar Poe with Vitaly Popeloff that was created in 1991. In Tashkent it was famous for the skillful guitarist. In 1993 band performed at “Tashkent’s Woodstock rock festival”.

In December 1996 Vitaly Menshikov (ex Edgar Poe) with Albert Khalmurzaev and Valery Vorobiev (ex Rare Bird) created a new band, named X-Religion. This band recorded 2 albums – “Dances on Gobelins” and “Sodom and Gomorra XXI”that were released only in 2001.

Nowadays In Uzbekistan there are several progressive rock bands. The most skillful and famous is FROM.UZ that was created in 2004 in Tashkent. In 2007 band released their first CD, named Audio Diplomacy and performed at Baja Prog festival in Mexico. Overlook the second band’s album was recorded in 2008. And finally the third album, tha is named Seventh Story was released in 2010. Now band is working on acoustic anthology of their music.

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