Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Upcoming Prog Rock Contest

Every year on the Sputnik Music website, this fellow using the handle Friday13th holds a contest to highlight obscure prog rock albums (Obscure being defined as albums that have garnered fewer than 30 ratings on the site). Basically, 16 contestants each pick a prog rock album to represent them, and Friday then puts them against each other one-on-one, while everyone votes on which album they prefer. This is his sixth prog rock contest (he tried switching to psychedelic rock one year, but it didn't generate the same amount of interest, so he's stuck to prog rock ever since).

It's the third one I'm participating in. My two previous entries didn't do much damage in the tournament -- the debut album by the Yes spinoff band Flash (which featured Peter Banks and Tony Kaye) got eliminated in the first round in 2017, and my entry for last year, Sight of Day by Mostly Autumn did only slightly better, moving on to the second round before getting squashed. And I suspect that my entry this year, the soundtrack album for the film Firestarter by the German synthesizer band Tangerine Dream might not fare that well either. But no matter, because the tournament gave me a chance to promote and get listens for three albums that I admire, and as a listener, it prompted me to listen to barely known prog rock bands from a variety of countries that I hadn't previously been familiar with. Basically, the contest is fun as hell. (At least for me.)

So this year, as Friday13th gathers his players and prepares to launch the contest, I'm going to report on it here -- all of the entries, and all of the contests, until a winner is crowned a couple of months from now. (There's one round every week.) Please feel free to listen along, and decide who you would have voted for. And if you're really fired up, there are still two open spots in the tournament as of this writing. So if you hurry, you can join the website -- it's free -- and petition Friday to enter an album. If that's still too much work for you, but you find the contest interesting, non-contestants are also allowed to vote on each round. So you can go up on the site and vote for your favorites.

I'm excited! Let the progging begin!