Around 1982 a Brazilian band called Bacamarte recorded Depois do Fim – a masterpiece of progressive music.

This record is one of the best example of progressive music. With so many prog music around, Depois do Fim ranks among TOP Studios of All-Time on, for sure the most authoritative site of prog music.

Most people don’t like songs that last 10 minutes or more, so common in prog music. Depois do Fim certainly will pleasure those who like shorter songs, like Passaro de Luz, whith its 2.35 minutes. But there’s also a 9.31 cut: Ultimo Entardecer. It’s possible that a record like Depois do Fim helps one to start appreciating prog music.
To be fair, many prog music albums contain short and long cuts. Song of Scheherazade, by the English band Renaissance, is 24 minutes long. But the album Scheherazade and Other Stories also includes 3, 7 and 11 minutes cuts. Rick Walkman’s Journey to the Center of the Earth is 40 minutes, but Yes, the band he used to play with usually recorded songs around 6 minutes long.

For those not used to prog music, here go some characteristics of the genre, according to :

1) Longer songs (or “epics”)
2) Time changes (e.g., odd time signatures)
3) More complex, sophisticated instrumentation and compositions
4) Superior vocals
5) More complex conceptual ideas / Heightened, lyrical content

In certain way, prog music is like Classical music.

Talking about length, Beethove’s ninth symphony lasts more than 70 minutes. Do you know that CD  was invented to be 60 minutes but Sony’s president demanded 74 minutes so it could fit the hole 9th? By the way, the best music ever written.

In pop music the three-minute rule is the length of choice. I guess this rule comes from limitations of the 78 rpm technology. The first wide spread recording format could only hold around 3 minutes per side. This technology reigned from 1910 to 1948 when the vinyl LP was invented, when the limit jumped to 45 minutes. Then came the CD, with it’s 74 minutes. Today there’s no time length limits – one can record a MP3 or competing format with any length. But pop music continues to abide by this three-minute rule. Has technology shaped the preference for shorten songs?

Coming back to Bacamarte. They have two records, but I rank the first one, Depois do Fim, the best. Perhaps it’s not the kind of music you listen only once and get all the subtleties. Most of the tracks are very attractive, but to enjoy them you have to listen carefully many times, to the point a detail here and there pops up to your attention.

The same I apply to classical music. I have the nine Beethoven symphonies Herbert Von Karajan recorded in 1963 and I return to listen to them regularly and always find some new passages I have not payed close attention to. By the way, taking into account the orchestra, plus conducting and recording technology, this performance is one of the best recording of the nine symphonies.




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