Avant Rock

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Avant Rock, or Experimental Rock, is rock music that is significantly more "out there" than Art Rock and Prog Rock. In many ways Avant Rock is just a way of classifying rock music that is too arty to even be art rock, or too adventurous to be prog rock, but it does refer to a few specific things as well. To be clear, Avant Rock, in its earliest stages, was chiefly defined by the influence of Musique Concrete, the tape music made from the forties onward in France and Germany, by composers who decided that it was only by using tapes of musical instruments (and even tapes of sounds not associated with music) that music could progress. The central figure of this early form of Avant Rock is Frank Zappa. Beginning with the final tracks on the Mothers' debut album, Zappa took modernist influences including Musique Concrete and basically turned the rock world on its head. He absolutely destroyed rock conventions not just by writing music that didn't fit into the conventional rock song formula, but which sometimes literally chopped it up and put it back together again. The Beatles also experimented with these ideas to a far lesser extent (for the most part) than Zappa, around the same time. The Beatles arguably went even further forwards than Zappa in 1966, but by 1967 Zappa had clearly moved beyond the Beatles, created tape collages that the Beatles would only briefly dip into. But the Beatles had far, far more listeners and so arguably their impact was greater. In fact both the Beatles and Zappa abandoned this deliberate avant gardism around the same time: the Beatles attempted to record an overdub-free album in early 1969 and Zappa disbanded the Mothers and started making different music. What Zappa and the Beatles did was so radical that few bands followed through the door, once it was kicked (blown?) open. Soft Machine, for example, followed Zappa for one album, but their sound was significantly more palatable. The Krautrock band Faust also was clearly influenced by Zappa, but they remained a cult act. The other really important Avant Rock band at the time were the Velvet Underground who, at their most extreme, made an entirely different kind of Avant Rock that was just as path-breaking and far more influential. Specifically, the Velvets invented Noise Rock, and the use of noise as an element of rock music had massive ramifications through the years.

Wild Man Fischer Nihilist Spasm Band

Industrial: Cabaret Voltaire Chrome Einsturzende Neubaten Clock DVA 23 Skidoo Coil

No Wave James Chance the Contortions Lizzy Mercier Descloux (and Rosa Yemen) DNA

Laurie Anderson [what do we call her?] Controlled Bleeding