Qoph [Sweden]
Updated 3/4/05

Aldrig Tillbaks (00, EP)
Kalejdoskopiska Aktiviteter (02)
Pyrola (04)
Qoph in the studio recording "Herr Qoph's villfarelser" - Robin Kvist, Federico de Costa (behind the drums), Patrik Persson, Filip Norman.

Kalejdoskopiska Aktiviteter (in English, "Kaleidoscopic Activities") is the debut CD from Qoph. Guitarist Filip Norman described it to me as "psych/prog", and that's not bad for starters, but doesn't begin to define the rich and varied sound of this Swedish band. When I asked him about the meaning of the band's name, Norman replied, "Qoph is a name we have regretted choosing many times. No one can spell or pronounce it - or even remembers it! Anyhow, it's a term used in Tarot for the card with the moon, symbolising illusion. The word itself is Hebrew and the name for a letter equal to the western Q."

As I listen to Kalejdoskopiska Aktiviteter, I'm transported back to the early '70's, or sometimes even the late '60's. There are two guitarists in the band and no synthesizers, and as a synthesizer player myself, I usually find this to be a sign that I won't be that enthused by a band. Not so in this case! It's true that there are no keyboards on this release, but the studio treatments and strange effects on the guitars make them sound as weird as any synthesizer ever could. I'm frequently reminded of Camembert Electrique or even Continental Circus-era Gong (i.e. pre-Tim Blake), with tape effects, Allenesque psychedelic wah-wah or echoed guitar solos, and a guest sax player that sounds like Didier Malherbe. All they need is a female vocalist breathily moaning the names of goddesses and they would really sound like Gong. Speaking of vocals, the band sings in Swedish, though they were debating whether to do their lyrics in English before deciding on their native tongue. Once again, from Filip Norman, "We tried to translate them [to English] before we released it in Swedish but it sounded ridiculous to us. It's difficult to keep the originality of the lyrics when translating and it's the same problem when translating a song from English to Swedish - or from any language at all."

Returning to the musical styles, there's even a few guitar parts that remind of Steve Hillage to further the Gong impression (yes, I know that Hillage didn't join Gong until long after this era, but there are Hillage-like passages here anyway). Qoph's music may sound like Gong in many ways, but since they are basically playing psychedelic blues guitar oriented music, you'll also be reminded occasionally of other famous bands who have worked in this genre, including not-so-progressive bands like Z. Z. Topp or even Leon Redbone. But not to worry, the moment you think it's getting too pedestrian, it will veer off into some cataleptic odd meter, a spacey guitar or flute solo, some warped vocals, or a batch of lysergic studio effects.

In summary, this is a wonderful album, and I can hardly wait to hear their next offering, which (as of this writing) is completed and mixed, and is just awaiting mastering ... and a record label, since the label which released Kalejdoskopiska Aktiviteter has changed their "musical profile" and will not release it. Their next album has English lyrics, which they hope will increase their appeal outside of Sweden. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Qoph's web site

Quantum [Brazil]
Updated 3/4/05

Quantum (83)
Quantum II (94)
One of the best Brazilian one-shots, that play a dynamic fusion that sound a lot like the French bands of the same vein, e.g., Carpe Diem and Wlud. If you like jazzy symphonic stuff, this is probably for you.
Brazillian progressive band combining elements of the European progressive sound with symphonic and Canterbury, to produce a stunning instrumental album of enchanting sophistication and complexity, with tight group playing and highly melodic compositions in the dominant role. The first, self titled album is excellent.

Quantum [USA]

New World (76)


Quantum Fantay [Belgium]
Updated 3/28/09

Agapanthusterra (05)
Ugisiunsi (07)
From Herzberg to Living Room (08, 2CD Live)
Quantum Fantay - (Not in photo order) Pete Mush (synths), Jaro (bass, didgeridoo, weird voices), Gino (Bartolini) Verhaegen (drums, percussion), Charles Sla (flutes, additional synths) and Dario Frodo (guitars)

No, not "Quantum Fantasy", but Quantum Fantay, and yes it's true that this name came about as a typo that the band decided to adopt permanently. If you like bands like Ozric Tentacles or Hidria Spacefolk, you should also like Quantum Fantay. These Belgians also add a bit more heaviness to their sound, making some parts also remind me of Hawkwind. But there's only one possible genre for these guys ... space rock. And a fine example, too. This is one of my favorite genres of prog, and QF hits all the marks with a great deal of enthusiasm and freshness.

They'll be in the US for a gig at NEARFest 2009, where I'm looking forward to seeing them. Makes me long for the old days of listening to such music whilst chemically elevated ... but the music itself will get me to the same place nowdays. Strap in and prepare for a trip around the galaxy. Highly recommended.

BTW, is that a PHP on the couch on the cover of their 2008 live album? Hmmm ... well maybe not. But a cousin at least. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Quantum Fantay's web site
Click here for Quantum Fantay's MySpace page

Quantum Jump [UK]

Quantum Jump (77), Barracuda (77)

Hm, I think I added this one myself. Maybe, not really what would you call "progressive," but certainly more "progressive" than some of the other bands here. Anyway, Quantum Jump made two albums Quantum Jump and Barracuda. There is also a remix album Mixing. All are truly difficult-to-find today. Leader was Rupert Hine. Music was rock with strange moods and atmosphere, often quite thrilling.

I have the first QJ album. Including producer extraordinaire Rupert Hine on keyboards and vocals, and ex-Caravan bassist John G Perry. They make a sort of funk/prog crossover music that is surprisingly successful, much more so than Randy Pie. This is in part due to the quality of the musicianship. Mark Warner definitely has guitar-hero potential, and drummer Trevor Morais can riff and fill with the best of them. "No American Starship" and "Cocobana Havana" are fine examples of these tendencies, but the best are the ones without any of the funk stylizings. Especially the eight-minute "Something At The Bottom Of The Sea," which is all-prog, alternating fast sections in 7/8 with slow ones in 4/4. "The Lone Ranger" became a top-ten hit in England two years after its release. -- Mike Ohman

[See Caravan | Nektar | Penguin Cafe Orchestra | Perry, John G.]

Quarkspace [USA]
Updated 7/31/02

Quarkspace (96)
Spacefolds 1 (96, Originally Cassette, now available as MP3.com CD)
Spacefolds 2 (97, Originally Cassette, now available as MP3.com CD)
Spacefolds 3 (97, Originally Cassette, now available as MP3.com CD)
Spacefolds 4 (98, Originally Cassette, now available as MP3.com CD)
Live Orion (98)
Spacefolds 5 (99)
The Hidden Moon (00, 2 CD)
Spacefolds 6 (00)
Spacefolds 7 (01?)
Drop (01)

Note: with the demise of MP3.com, the above MP3.com CD's are no longer available

Quarkspace - Paul Williams (drums, keyboards), Jay Swanson (keyboards), Stan Lyon (guitar) and Chet Santia (bass, guitar, voice)

My original Quarkspace entry, 9/26/00:
Suppose I was to tell you that Tim Blake, Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze and ... oh, maybe Pip Pyle guesting on drums and Steve Hillage playing glissandoz guitar ... got together to form an instrumental electronic space supergroup. And they are going to use similar analog equipment to what they used in the early '70's, and make similar music too. If I was to tell you this, your reaction might be:

A.) Excited, ready to fork over some money for the CD
B.) Interested, but suspicious that they will sell out
C.) Yawn, I thought we got rid of those lamers in the late '70's.
D.) Am I supposed to know who these people are?

If your answer is C. or D., then don't read any further. You probably won't like Quarkspace. If your answer is A. or B., then I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is no such supergroup of old electro-space pioneers (so far as I know). The good news is that, as far as the music goes, there might as well be such a supergroup. Because that's just what Quarkspace sounds like. And it's not a sellout either. The managers of your local Border's Books and Music would probably file this under "New Age" for lack of a clue where else to file it (of course, this won't be a problem because they won't have it at all). But you'll file them with Tim Blake's Crystal Machine, Tangerine Dream's Rubycon and Klaus Schulze's Black Dance. Only with real drums (sometimes). If you want to close your eyes and go for a spacewalk, look no further. Quarkspace comfortably delivers the listener to near orbit.

Updating the entry 6/25/02:
Quarkspace played their "farewell performance" concert on Nov. 17, 2001. Prior to this, they released their third (and final?) studio CD, Drop into the public domain. That means you can go to their web site (see below) and download the entire CD for free. The Spacefolds 1-4 releases, previously only available on cassette, [were] available on MP3.com in several digital formats. There [were] also over 120MB of downloadable MP3 tunes from their entire discography. [Before MP3.com's demise, I downloaded everything and burned it onto CDR's. Check the band's web site for current availability.]

Listening to Drop, I have to amend my previous entry that spoke mostly about the Tim Blake, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze influences. Those are still somewhat in evidence on Drop, but even more clear on this album is the style of Hawkwind, plus some techno and trip hop influences. Some of these sequencer and drum parts are positively dancable. Other pieces are much more spacey (read: drug-induced) and don't inspire any sort of urge to move at all. Listening to this is enough to give me flashbacks to the good old days of getting stoned and listening to this kind of stuff while floating in the outer rim of the galaxy. Even the recording style is a bit muddy (at least on the MP3 version), which really makes it sound like it was recorded in someone's home studio in the '70's. I would swear I hear little LP clicks and pops too. How odd. Or maybe that's just part of my flashback ...

The MP3.com downloads represent an overview of their entire discography, particularly the Spacefolds albums, which are all recordings of live concerts or live-to-tape jams. They run the gamut of space music, including styles of Hawkwind, Klaus Schulze and also more modern electronic spacers including the ambient techno sensibilities of Zinkl, Enigma or Delerium, and the improvisational jamming of Escapade. There's even "the cheeziest thing we've ever done", an electro-pop dance tune named "Go". There's enough stuff here for 2 CDR's worth.

Another update 7/31/02:
Quarkspace's keyboardist/drummer Paul Williams dropped me a note to let me know that Quarkspace hasn't completely folded (or Spacefolded, I suppose), but they will no longer be playing any "official" live concerts. "Some guys in the band were finding it hard to balance being in a band and dog-ownership for instance," he told me. In the meantime, he's working on his Church of Hed solo project (see links below) and still working on Quarkspace stuff with bandmates in his "spare" time. Spacefolds 8 should be out by the end of 2002, and Spacefolds 9 is slated for 2003, including a comic by artist Matt Howarth. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Quarkspace's web site
Click here for Church of Hed's web site

Quarteto 1111 [Portugal]
Updated 6/22/07

Quarteto 1111 (70)
Bruma Azul do Desejado (73)
Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas (74)
Cantamos Pessoas Vivas (99)
Quarteto 1111 was the first symphonic rock band in Portugal. Since 1968-69 they got media attention through a hit single, "El Rei D. Sebastião", actually with lyrics about the theme of the lost Portuguese king, who supposedly died in the fields of Morocco during the battle of Alcacer-Kibir. Once the king lost, also the Portuguese kingdom lost his independence to Spain. All the myths related with the return of King Sebastião - a quite anchored portuguese myth - were fairly treated in this rather poetic song. The harpsichord made its first appearance in rock portuguese music. As far as I can remember, a single with the English version of the song was published in Great Britain. The band leader was José Cid, composer and keyboard player as well as lead singer. The rest of the band had a classic formation influenced by the usual Beatles line-up, but with a sound and song structure that reminds the early Moody Blues.

The following album continued in the same vein, combining melodic songs with newly progressive instruments, namely the Mellotron. Later on the band evolved to a rather common -- and unintersting -- late 70's pop sound. In 1978 José Cid did publish a "progressive" record, entitled 10.000 anos depois entre Vénus e Marte. -- Paulo Pereira

[See Cid, José]

Quasar [UK]

Fire In The Sky (83), The Loreli (89)

Another one of those pathetic neo-prog wannabees. These guys to me absolutely typify neo-prog at its worst. Cheesy ballads with overly sweet and lush synths with all that makes me sick about commercial striving synth rock bands. And they have to make it worse by adding a female vocalist (Tracy Hitchings) that sounds a lot like Mariah Carey. This is poorgressive :-)

British group led by bassist Keith Turner. BIG symphonic sound. The first album has some moderately interesting tunes, but the recording quality is pretty dreadful. Loreli is much better, more complexity and development, featuring Tracy Hitchings on vocals, although the vocals at times seem a little overbearing, and mask some of the better tendencies of the music. Could be classified as neo-prog, but sound nothing like Marillion, et al. maybe more like a poppy answer to The Enid.

[See Hitchings, Tracy | Strangers On A Train]

Quasar Lux Symphoniae [Italy]
Updated 5/9/02

Abraham (94)
The Enlightening March of the Argonauts (97)
Mit (00)
Abraham is a rock opera.
The Enlightening March of the Argonauts is a surprisingly good symphonic album by the Italian band Quasar Lux Symphoniae. Released in 1997 on Music is Intelligence label, the album offers 45 minutes of quality music. The 6 songs are somewhat darkish (apparently this is a concept album about a group of ill-fated Polar explorers), with good melodies and dynamc range, moving between gentle piano/acoustic guitar moments and expansive symphonics or angry, hardedged rock stomping. The keyboards are the most prominent instruments with a mixture of digital and analog timbres plus piano and organ; keyboardist Paolo Paroni releases a few impessive classical runs and stylish solos. Guitar is pumped through digital distortion, resulting in a thin but spiky sound, used for some excellent melodic leads and solos. The rhythm section is steady and rather unadventorous, closer to neo-prog. The one thing that irritates me with this album is the singing of guitarist Roberto Sgorlon; his voice is exteremely gruffy and he grunts and contorts it so much that if the lyrics weren't printed on the CD booklet, I wouldn't have been able to tell that he was singing in English! One song, "The Resonance of the Throne", features the lovely, operatic voice of one Annalisa Malvasio instead, and I would have liked to hear more of it. Overall, a good album for those who like symphonic rock.

Mit is a much warmer and more lyrical album, with far less emphasis on electric guitars, and more on acoustics and soft symphonic textures supported by a real string section. Malvasio's voice is featured on several tracks, either as a wordless background effect, or as the lead (her finest moment is the pretty, understated ballad "Pana's Dreams"), and there is a more decent male vocalist in addition to Sgorlon, who now keeps his voice in check. This is another concept piece with lyrics in three different languages, but the full storyline is locked in the 54-page Italian booklet that comes with the album. The style tends to follow the same lyrical course as Finisterre, another modern Italian outfit with eyes on the past and both feet on the present, but Quasar Lux Symphoniae tend more towards Baroque frilliness in arrangements, simplicity in compositions. The problem is that as pretty as these tracks are, they also tend to be bit inconsequential and underdeveloped, making especially the first side of album sound repetitive. Only towards the end does the album solidify, with the blissful "Flowing Down the River", the gripping "The Lord of Fire" with its brief but ripping violin solo, and the dynamic "The Glance of Giada", which adds a well-needed spicing of heavier guitar and synthesizer and builds to a wailing conclusion, leading into the Camel-like guitar rhapsodising of "Happiness". Very pretty and exquisitely crafted, Mit is ultimately less compelling as a whole than its cruder yet more passionate predecessor. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Click here for Quasar Lux Symphoniae web site

Quatebriga [Yugoslavia]

Revolution In The Zoo (85), Choice Of A New Generation (87)

Interesting Yugoslavian band into a wide range of styles, but overall a little noisy and chaotic, like borderline RIO, especially on the first album. On the second album they tone it down quite a bit, and develop their sound with stronger more melodic arrangements.

Quatermass [UK]
Updated 9/4/01

Quatermass (70)
Power trio of keyboard, bass and drums. Straddling the line between hard rock and prog, there's a little something here to appease fans of both styles. Keyboards apparently just piano and organ, with the latter being especially hot-wired to make the keyboardists' style resemble Frumpy keyboardist Jean-Jacques Kravetz, or perhaps Dave Stewart at his most maniacal (see "Dreams Wide Awake" for an example). He can lash out at his organ with a recklessness that puts Emerson to shame, listen to the solo on "Post War, Saturday Echo" if you don't believe me. Bass player John Gustafson (pre-Roxy Music) sings in a uncontrolled, manic voice that can often sound gut-wrenching. A couple of tracks (the ballad "Good Lord Knows" and the lengthy jam-orientated "Laughin' Tackle" include massed strings. -- Mike Ohman
Heavy prog. Features Peter Robinson, later of Brand X. Robinson's organ is predominant instrument.
Just a snippet about Quatermass, a band I just had cause to look up: it may amuse GEPR users to know that bassist John (then "Johnny") Gustafson began his career in a sub-Beatles, matching suits-and-ties type beat "combo" called The Big Three. There were, indeed, three of 'em - clearly trios were his thing. -- Roger Thomas
[See Brand X | Roxy Music]

Quaterna Requiem [Brazil]
Updated 3/4/05

Velha Gravura (92)
Quasimodo (94)
Livre (99, Live)
Incredible symphonic rock band from Brazil led by keyboardist Elisa Wiermann. Their first album Velha Gravura features violinist Kleber Vogel in addition to the standard keyboards, guitar, bass, drums lineup. Musically this one borrows from Camel, PFM, and Iconoclasta, while avoiding the "clone band" syndrome. (An exception is the title track, which does steal a few too many riffs from Camel's "Rhayader Goes to Town.") Very elegant, classically inspired compositions with lots of interplay between synth, guitar, and violin. Their second album Quasimodo features a significant change in style. Vogel left the band after Velha Gravura to start Kaizen, and Quasimodo is much more synth dominant. Compositionally, the album draws heavily from Renaissance and Baroque musics, bring the sound close to Gentle Giant or Gryphon at times. The album's highlight is the seven part title track clocking in at 38:59. Two of the sections feature Renaissance era instruments--lute, recorder, krumhorn, and (real?) harpsicord. One section even features a Benedictine monk performing a 10th century chant over Wiermann's pipe organ. Unfortunately, the track tends to drag on a bit near the end. Perhaps the band got a little too ambitious on this one. Overall, though, this is a very strong album which sympho-maniacs should enjoy. If you haven't heard Quaterna Requiem yet, by all means give them a try! -- Anthony Alumkal
Another one that took a couple of spins to hit me is the new band Quaterna Requiem. Their debut (I believe) is definitely in the same style as the Italian 70s bands, and makes me think that I'm listening to one, since their instrumentation only barely hints that they are a 90's band. Very dynamic, beautifully complex and startlingly intense, QR really know what to do, and I'm looking forward to hearing future albums by these guys. Another band that everyone on the net could appreciate.
This Brazilian band is based on the work of a classically trained keyboardist who masters her analog keyboards. The band also involves violin, guitars, bass, drums and guests on flutes and oboe. Velha Gravura is symphonic rock and all compositions show heavy classical influences. Tasteful melodies serve as themes and are progressively developed, not unlike many Italian bands. In fact, melody and harmony dominate a modest rhythm section and a slightly flat sound. A promising debut. Quasimodo, based on keyboard work (lots of organ), is also symphonic rock with heavy classical influences. The themes, as suggested by the presentation, have a medieval flavour. A music that should please fans of Italian productions but also anyone with interest in keyboard dominated symphonic rock. -- Paul Charbonneau
[See Kaizen]

Quatro, Michael [USA]

Paintings (72), Look Deeply In The Mirror (73), In Collaboration With The Gods (75), Dancers, Romancers, Dreamers and Schemers (76), Live and Kickin' (77), Getting Ready (7?), Michael Quatro Band (80)

Prog keyboardist, supposedly became commercial for Dancers. He's the brother of Suzi Quantro (so?) and Paintings features Ted Nugent (ex-Amboy Dukes) on guitar.

Queen [UK]
Updated 1/18/07

Queen (73)
Queen II (74)
Sheer Heart Attack (74)
A Night at the Opera (75)
A Day at the Races (76)
News of the World (77)
Jazz (78)
Live Killers (79)
The Game (80)
Flash (80, soundtrack)
Greatest Hits (81)
Hot Space (82)
The Works (84)
The Complete Works (85, box set of 14 previous albums)
A Kind of Magic (86)
Live Magic (86)
The Miracle (89)
At the Beeb (89, old sesions)
Innuendo (91)
Greatest Hits II (91)
Classic Queen (92)
The 12" Collection (92, compilation of 12"s)
Live at Wembley '86 (92)
Made in Heaven (95)
Return of the Champions (05, as Queen + Paul Rodgers)
Queen - Left: John Deacon (bass), Top: Brian May (guitar), Bottom: Freddie Mercury (vocals, keyboards), Right: Roger Taylor (percussion)

[Editor's note: This overview came with the GEPR when I inherited it in 2000.]

Legendary UK band. They were the first-ever band I really got into. Basically, everything up to and including Jazz is worth getting ... they weren't exactly prog with a capital P, but they covered a hell of a lot of ground in a short space of time. Their first two albums are their most progressive ... great 70s inventive rock with lots of piano. Queen II is utterly fantastic. One of the best albums of all time. They never reached that peak again ... long sectioned tracks with Freddie Mercury's superb vocal range and Brian May's still unparalleled guitar orchestration. Even though the guy is a market pawn today and writes drivel, his early Queen stuff was totally unique and brilliant. Queen II still makes me cry. Sheer Heart Attack is great ... loads of very different tunes, very prog, very clever, very good. Contains the defining track of May's distinctive delayed guitar solos "Brighton Rock". Get this album. The next two are pretty similar and are both great ... named after Marx Brothers films, they cover an awful lot of terrain from great rock ("Death on Two Legs", "Sweet Lady", "Tie Your Mother Down") to spot-on period music ("Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy", "Seaside Rendezvous") to prog epic ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "The Prophet's Song") to ballads with amazing vocals ("You Take My Breath Away", "Love of my Life"). Hardly a bad tune on either album. Must haves. News of the World was just as diverse as previous offerings but contained the awfully titled "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions". Ug. Not terrible songs but, like "Bo Rap", you are doomed to hear them twice a day on the radio and in shops until you die so that you'll hate them eventually anyway. A great album all in all with blues tracks ("Sleeping on the Sidewalk"), Latin American tracks ("Who Needs You") and straight Queen stuff ("It's Late"). Amazing diversity. IMO, Jazz was their last good album. Again, very diverse but there are a few worrying tracks that sound a little banal ("In Only Seven Days"). Contains the killer rock track "Dead On Time" which is probably one of the best Queen tracks ever. Brian May excels.

After Jazz, they started to get really famous (they were bloody famous already) and they became a national institution, every album getting in the top five in the UK. The music suffered. A lot more snappy poppy tunes ... "Play the Game", "Another One Bites the Dust", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Body Language" ... you've heard 'em all a million times. They were top quality pop songs, however. :-) Brian May seemed to be able to write guitar lines that were perfect melodically for any song. Eric Clapton was quoted as saying he wished he could play like May (so what!). After a fairly interesting soundtrack to the film Flash and a zillion seller best-of album, they put out Hot Space which is 50/50 like The Game. The Works saw them become practically the world's biggest stadium band. They only ever played huge venues from then on. The Works was a huge affair that gained massive airplay. It was OK. Nothing to get excited about. Kind of Magic was about the same. Some great guitar lines and really rocking material but a lot of ponderous pop, too. Contains the dreadfully icky "Friends Will be Friends". The Miracle generally sucked. Nasty boring pop with about two reasonable tracks. Great guitaring as usual. Innuendo was so bad, I bought it and threw it away. Me. A life-long Queen fan. It sucked big time. Lots of rather retrospective "life was great" material which makes you think that Freddie knew it was to be his last Queen album ... The best bit is Steve Howe's appearence as "wandering minstrel". There have been and will be lots of cash-in compilations and re-releases after Freddie's death in 1991.

All in all, easily one of the most diverse and talented bands in history who, unfortunately slid into the pop trap after they hit the big time. Anthing up to Jazz is worth getting. Anything up to A Day at the Races is mandatory. Not having their first two albums is a punishable offense. -- Phil Kime

Beyond Phil's excellent overview, there's only a few things to say of any consequence for this update.

In 1995, the surviving members of Queen got together and released the last recordings done with Freddie Mercury. The album is titled Made in Heaven. I haven't heard it, but the songs are said to be somewhat of a return to form of their older music, and less poppy than their recent releases had been.

Recently, Brian May and Roger Taylor (but not John Deacon) reformed Queen with vocalist Paul Rodgers (formerly of Free and Bad Company) replacing Freddie Mercury. In 2005, they put out a live 2CD album called Return of the Champions with lots of Queen favorites and also some covers of Free and Bad Company songs. I also haven't heard this one, but most reviews I've read have either panned the album or at best said it might have been a fun concert to attend, but the album is probably not a necessary purchase. -- Fred Trafton

[See Smile]

Click here for Queen's web site

Queensrÿche [USA]
Updated 4/10/06

Queensrÿche (83)
The Warning (84)
Rage for Order (86)
Operation Mindcrime (88)
Empire (90)
Operation Livecrime (91)
Promised Land (94)
Hear in the Now Frontier (97)
Q2K (99)
Live Evolution (01)
Tribe (03)
The Art of Live (04)
Operation: Mindcrime II (06)
Queensrÿche - (not in photo order) Chris DeGarmo (guitar), Michael Wilton (guitar), Geoff Tate (vocals), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums)

Written 7/10/03:
One of the most important, and certainly most influential, metal bands to hit the scene in the early 1980's was Seattle's Queensrÿche. Influenced themselves by such metal staples as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, Queensrÿche combined metal thunder, progressive rock complexity, and commercial hooks, which ultimately shaped progressive metal as it would become in the late 80's and into the 1990's. The group's first album, the self titled EP, contained 4 raw metal rockers, most notably the thrash anthem "Queen of the Reich" and the melodic "The Lady Wore Black." Lead vocalist Geoff Tate, whose piercing, high ranged voice seemed to even best Rob Halford, became the bands signature, along with the dual guitar attack of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton. For the follow-up album, 1984's The Warning, the band streamlined their sound a bit, and the public took notice, as songs like "Take Hold of the Flame", " Deliverance" and "Before the Storm" found their way onto MTV and hard rock radio. Queensrÿche had seemingly found the right formula, as their brand of "thinking mans metal" was selling. The music was heavy, but intelligent, with lyrics that dealt with current events, mysticism, and the apocalypse-anything but sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The use of complex riffs and changing time signatures, coupled with melodic and powerful vocal passages, also appealed to the progressive rock crowd as well.

1986 saw the band release Rage for Order, a much more polished affair, as they injected more pop, and even some glam qualities into their songs. With all of the "hair metal" bands rising to the top of the charts, Queensrÿche also sleeked up their appearance, donning facial make-up and elaborate clothes for the album photographs and videos, but the release still had its share of notable numbers, including "Walk in the Shadows", "I Dream in Infrared", and the single "Gonna Get Close to You." While the album drew question marks from some fans, it brought in a new legion of listeners who craved the theatrical glam rock of Queen, and the intricate metal of Iron Maiden. The groups crowning achievement however was soon to follow, with the release in 1988 of Operation Mindcrime, perhaps the greatest progressive metal concept album of all time. At this point the band was firing on all cylinders, both lyrically and musically. Operation Mindcrime took on a life all its own with Queensrÿche fans, much like The Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall. The album spawned three hit videos, including "I Don't Believe in Love", "Breaking the Silence", and the raging "Eyes of a Stranger", not to mention the concert anthem "Revolution Calling." After numerous months on the road bringing Operation Mindcrime to life, the band re-entered the studio and created their biggest commercial album to date, 1990's Empire. While not as complex or heavy handed as its predecessor, Empire still showed many flashes of brilliance, and an uncanny knack for great hooks in such songs as "Another Rainy Night", "Jet City Woman", "Anybody Listening" and the hit "Silent Lucidity." Geoff Tate became the favorite singer amongst heavy metal fans, and his stratospheric vocals helped propel Empire to millions of album sales, and months near the top of the charts. After the success of these last two albums, swarms of bands utilizing dual guitars, high-pitched vocals, complex arrangements, and intelligent lyrics, were popping up all over the horizon. As it seemed, the timing was probably right for many of these new bands, because Queensrÿche seemingly went into hiding for four years.

After their hiatus, the band released Promised Land, a dense prog-metal platter that was high on intricately woven instrumental passages and heavy riffs, but the commercial appeal of Empire was lacking, and that coupled with the bands long layoff hurt sales of the album. Still, to many long-time fans, this album is a neglected favorite, and contains some strong tunes, such as "I Am I", "Disconnected", "Damaged" and the mysterious title track. For many though, Promised Land is an overly dense affair, with too much emphasis on complex arrangements and pretentious lyrics, oddly enough qualities than many prog-metal fans crave, but mainstream listeners abhor. After another extended layoff, the band reappeared with 1997's Hear in the Now Frontier, an album greatly influenced by the alternative rock scene. It seemed that Queensrÿche was trying to "modernize" their sound and appeal to a younger audience. The results were disastrous, as the album was not a good seller. Tate's trademark vocals were changing to fit the new songwriting style, and fans were not happy. Guitarist DeGarmo soon left the band, who went back into the studio to record Q2K, another disappointing release that lacked the older magic and seemed like the product of a band that had lost its direction. From 1999 to 2003, the band spent a lot of time on the road with fellow metal mavens Iron Maiden, Halford, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater, in hopes to win back some of their old fan base. DeGarmo is even rumored to have recorded on the bands forthcoming CD Tribe, which is reported to be a return to the classic Queensrÿche sound of the late 80's-early 90's. If so, the "legion of the reich" will once again reign supreme. Regardless, Queensrÿche will certainly go down in history as one of the most important bands in the progressive metal genre. -- Peter Pardo

[See Rockenfield/Speer]

Click here for Queensrÿche's web site

Quella Vecchia Locanda [Italy]

Quella Vecchia Locanda (72), Il Tempo Della Gioia (74)

They released two albums, their classic self-titled debut and Il Tempo Della Gioia Much like PFM yet with more of a violin presence, their classical arrangements were rather overt yet worked beautifully making these musts for Italian collectors.

Though Quella Vecchia Locanda's first album is most often cited as the classic from their pair of releases, I have Il Tempo Della Gioia from 1974 and it's very good. The first one must be great! Il Tempo della Gioia is very pastoral which draws a comparison to Celeste's excellent Principe di un Giorno. QVL's emphasis is violin, piano, flute, clarinet, and, to some extent, vocals. There is a strong classical feel to the compositions, mainly due to the instrumentation. Some of the violin solos could be lifted from a violin concerto. Though soft and quiet at the beginning, by the half-way point the album has increased both in drive and energy. Some of the songs sound a little forced, as if they were trying to be unique without a real good idea of how to be unique. This brings the album down a notch in comparison to Celeste or PFM. If you like Celeste and want more, check out QVL. If you haven't heard either, start with Celeste. -- Mike Taylor

Quella Vecchia Locanda is the band's debut. The group includes keyboards, guitars, vocals/flute, violin, bass and drums. You can hear the classical/symphonic influences and the variety of arrangements that would later make the reputation of Italian bands. The music includes tasty parts with vocals (in Italian), guitar, violin and piano but also offers more intense moments where the sound becomes a bit raw. For Italian rock fanatics. Like many of the Italian productions of this era, Il Tempo Della Gioia offers a charming mixture of classical music, rock and jazz. The delightful arrangements usually feature piano, violin, guitar, flute and vocals (in Italian), and sometimes take on a more electric tone to the rhythms of the bass and drums. Clarinet and saxophone are also heard. The performances certainly show virtuosity and emotion but the sound maintains a lightness not typical of the usual symphonic rock. This canalso be observed when compared to their previous release. Fans of the Italian style from the '70s will want to file this one not far from their copies of PFM discs. -- Paul Charbonneau

Quidam [Poland]
Updated 11/27/02

Quidam (96)
Sny Aniolow (98)
Angel's Dreams (98, Sny Aniolow with English vocals)
Live in Mexico '99 (99, Live)
Pod niebem czas / The Time Beneath The Sky (02)
Quidam - (left) Maciej Meller (acoustic & electric guitars); (top 2) Rafal Jermakow (drums & percussion), Zbyszek Florek (keyboards); (next 2) Radek Scholl (bass guitar), Jacek Zasada (flute, keyboards); (bottom) Emillia Derkowska (vocals, cello)

Quidam started in 1991 as hard, blues rock trio called Deep River. As the line-up grew, their music was changed to a more complicated style. Three of the members are alumni of music schools. In 1995, the band was contracted by Ars Mundi. Ars Mundi boss Mietek Stoch suggested they change their name because it was too similar to Deep Purple. Thus, they became Quidam. First album was recorded with the great help of musicians from the Polish prog band Collage. Quidam was released in May 1996 during First Warsaw Prog-Fest. The beautiful music is in the vein of Camel and Yes, with some folk influences. There are some long tracks with great solos: "Sanktuarium" (with beautiful cello parts making a baroque atmosphere), "G3eboka rzeka" (Polish for Deep River), "Nocne widziad3a" (with great vocals similar to Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig ...") and the 14 minutes "Ja p3one", plus two short, nice, melodic songs "Warkocze" and "Bajkowy." Highly recommended to all lovers of good music. -- Janusz Groth

Another strong progressive release from Poland is the eponymous first album by the group Quidam. Released in 1996 on the Ars Mundi label, Quidam contains nine powerful, well-written songs of melodic and colourful symphonic rock. The group is a six-piece: the standard bass/drums/guitars/keyboards quartet is reinforced by a flautist and a female vocalist who also plays flute and cello. The vocals of Emila Derkowska are truly impressive, warm and full whether whispering softly or soaring majestically in high register; she sings in Polish and has a good dramatic sense, moving smoothly from delicate to powerful, always packing a lot of emotion in her delivery. The music matches the vocals perfectly, with gorgeous, often very jubilant melodies, lush symphonic arrangements and vibrant performances. I can detect influences from Camel (flute, somewhat folky melodies), King Crimson (mainly in the song "Sanktuarium", which sounds very much like the "Epitaph" line of Crimson ballads), Pink Floyd (the spacey feel on some tracks and the "Great Gig in the Sky"-styled vocals on "Nocne widziadla") and perhaps also their compatriots Collage (whose guitarist Mirek Gil guests on "Chocbym" and drummer Wojtek Szadkowski co-produced the album), but for most part Quidam are quite original. All the instrumentalist are very skilled musicians, but instead of banging out loads of flashy solos, they concentrate on complementing each other to create a shifting, colourful quilt of sound. The longest instrumental sections can be found on "Niespetninie" and the 14-minute closer "Plone". The music is very accessible right on the first listen but also has depth and underlying complexity that guarantees many further listens. In my opinion, this is simply a superb album.

Quidam's second album came in two versions: Sny Aniolow (Rock Serwis RSCD 050) has Polish lyrics, while on Angels' Dreams (Musea FGBG 4256.AR) they are sung in English. The Polish version is preferable, though there really isn't all that great a difference between the two of them. As a whole, the album is something of a disappointment after their marvellous debut. They still write excellent vocal melodies which Derkowska's voice brings to brilliant life, but both writing and playing are more restrained and streamlined, resulting in a more stereotypically neo-progressive sound with far less depth and originality than on the first album. The 14-minute "Pod powieka" / "Behind My Eyes" has some commendable vocal and keyboard exploration, but seems pale by comparison to the first album's "Plone". The shorter songs are in themselves more memorable, especially the first five songs on the album, but could use more development. The most distinctive tune proves to be their cover version of "Jest taki samotny dom" / "There Is Such a Lonesome House" (sung in Polish on both versions of the album), a string-augmented, haunting number with some of the original flavour that helped to distinguish the first album from many of its Anglo-American contenders. As a whole this is a good neo-prog album with no bad tracks, and recommended to those who like the melodic, straight-forward end of the progressive spectrum.

Live in Mexico '99 (Musea FGBG 4321.AR) was recorded during the Baja-Prog festival and features spirited interpretations of some of Quidam's best songs (mainly from the first album). They have also incorporated some "classic" material into their set, such as parts of "Firth of Fifth" during "Sankturiarum" and cover versions of Camel's "Rhyader" / "Rhyader Goes to Town" and Deep Purple's "Child in Time". Very good sound quality and performances make this an excellent live document of Quidam. -- Kai Karmanheimo

I hadn't heard any Quidam until their 2002 release The Time Beneath The Sky. I don't know why I hadn't heard of them ... this is fantastic band, and The Time Beneath The Sky is an extremely strong release. Don't be fooled by their picture above, where they look like some sort of clean-cut Jesus band or something; this is a varied and very progressive release, blending the spaciness and flute solos of Gong, the pastoral prog of White Willow (complete with a wonderful female vocalist who reminds me a lot of WW's Sylvia Erichsen, singing in both Polish and charmingly accented English), with Pink Floydish guitar solos and keyboard washes, middle eastern hand drums á la Azigza (especially on the first cut, "Letter From The Desert I") and even some mellow jazzy trumpet solos. There's also a definite psychedelic feel to many of the tunes.

There's not a lot more description needed if you're familiar with the reference bands I've just invoked. But I should say that Quidam isn't a rip-off of any of them, with a sound quite unique to themselves. Unless you are the type who needs to be constantly challenged by difficult RIO or pounded with relentlessly chugging Prog Metal guitars, The Time Beneath The Sky is a must for your collection. This one is going to be getting a lot of spin time on my CD player. And, like White Willow, this is another one your wife might not ask you to turn off. My highest reccomendation. -- Fred Trafton

[See Collage]

Click here for the Quidam web site

Quiddity [USA]

San Francisco based group that remind me a lot of Twelfth Night, maybe a little more metallic. Saw them live once, they have a four song demo tape that's pretty good, but no albums yet.

Quiet Celebration [USA]
Updated 12/14/08

Quiet Celebration (00)
Sequel (04)
Don Falcone

Original entry, 3/4/05:
Quiet Celebration is another Don Falcone project, this one with bayan/tabla player Edward Huston, bassist Ashley Adams and woodwind player John Purves. Together, they create velvety, rhythmic sonic textures that walk the line between world music, new-age and Tangerine Dreamy electronic tapestries, with occasional far and middle eastern sonorities to give it a Gong-like feel too. Though it is not the most innovative style in the world, it is mellow, spacey and quite nice. Recommended for those who like this type of thing (which I certainly do), but I suspect it is unlikely to win new converts to the style. There's no song here that would be out of place on a Hearts of Space compilation. -- Fred Trafton

Update 12/14/08:
A few years late, but I'm finally getting around to adding Sequel to the Quiet Celebration write-up. Each song on this album is the core band members Falcone/Huston/Purvis and one guest musician which changes from song to song. The description of the sound doesn't change much from the first album, with "world beat" and "Tangerine Dream-like" being good reference points for what to expect, with a little mellow Azigza thrown in for good measure. Some of this might even be called "danceable", but only for belly-dancers. Nice, dreamy, mellow and spacey. And even has one cut of The Divided Alien playing his gliss-style guitar. -- Fred Trafton

[See Falcone, Don | Fireclan | Grindlestone | Spaceship Eyes | Spirits Burning | Trap]

Click here for Don Falcone's Noh Poetry Records web site

Quiet World [UK]

The Road (70)

Featured Steve Hackett, pre-Genesis.

[See Genesis | Hackett, Steve]

Quiet Sun [UK]

Mainstream (75)

Pre-801 with Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, Haywood and Bill MacCormick. Honorable mention for oddest title to a song "Mummy was an asteroid, daddy was a small non-stick kitchen utensil."

As far as I know, this band only ever made one album, Mainstream, which was made in 1975 when the band reformed on the wave of Roxy Music's success. They were originally beaten to a record deal by Curved Air in around 1969. The album was made around the same time as Phil Manzanera's solo album Diamond Head, which shared some musicians. Brian Eno produced it, and added sundry guitar-looping effects etc., as he was wont to do in those days. Anyway, on to the music. Anyone expecting a Roxy Music clone will be sadly disappointed. This is *quite* different (and much better, IMHO!). Most of the tracks are fairly free-form jazz-rock(-ish) instrumentals, changing between time signatures as if there was no tomorrow. The opening track, "Sol Caliente" starts with a haunting repeated piano riff, which is joined by a swirling distorted guitar lead. This breaks into a jazz-rock section with the rest of the band, as Jarrett introduces the electric piano sound that gives the album a lot of its mood. The second track, "Trumpets With Motherhood" is a combination of weird percussion sounds and what sounds like kazoos (!), and runs into "Bargain Classics," with its almost atonal lead riff. This breaks into the soft ambience of "RFD," with the electric piano oozing out of the speakers. Side two starts with the wonderfully titled "Mummy was an Asteroid, Daddy was a Small, Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil." This re-creates the mood of "Sol Caliente" (which, incidentally, is "Quiet Sun," if you hadn't noticed!), as does the next track, "Trot." The last track "RongWrong" sounds as if it was recorded semi-live - the quality is different. It consists of a more rocky song, with Hayward contributing the most silly vocals you could imagine - I guess this is there to lighten up the album. All in all I think this is a good album, and a welcome addition to any prog-rock collection. Groups I'd compare them with: The Mahavishnu Orchestra (but with a harder edge, and not quite so fast), Early Crimson (Court of the Crimson King), instrumental bits of Caravan, and perhaps some of the other Canterbury people, although I've not really heard all that much. Don't expect any calm moments of acoustic guitar though!

[See 801 | Manzanera, Phil | 1919, La | Random Hold | Roxy Music | This Heat]

Quill [USA]

Sursum Corda (77)

In the late '70s, while bands like Yes and ELP were being criticized for their self-indulgencies, Quill were trying to make a name for themselves by recycling the ELP schtick. Dressed in flamboyant clothes, Quill dispensed a story full of knights, wizards, spells, a king and a princess. The disc (available in an LP-sized jacket) even comes with a libretto so you can keep track of the story. Musically, keyboardist Ken DeLoria rehashed every Emerson cliche known to the Prog world, and even tossed in a few Wakeman cliches for balance. Quill were rounded out by the bass of Keith Christian and the drums of Jim Sides; a keyboard power trio with no musical originality in 1977 was doomed to failure from the start. Of the two movements that make up the tale, (one at 20 minutes, the second at 15 minutes), about half of each is instrumental. Each movement is comprised of several songs that flow together, alternating brief lyrical passages with extended passages of Hammond, Moog, Mellotron and other keyboards. As I said above, DeLoria was quite enamored with the keyboard pyrotechnics of Keith Emerson. Listening to the instrumental "Storming the Mountain Pt. 2" is like a study in "Tarkus" riffs. (I can name that riff in three notes, Biff.) If you're heavy into the ELP sound, or like other clone bands such as Manticore, you may be interested in Sursum Corda, as long as you don't mind recycled cliches. -- Mike Taylor

[Should not be confused with Quill, an American psych band that released Quill on Cotillion in 1969.]

Quintessence [UK]
Updated 5/8/03

In Blissful Company (69)
Quintessence (70)
Dive Deep (70)
Self (71)
Indweller (72)
Kala (73)
Epitaph for Tomorrow (93, Compilation)
Self+Indweller (95, Compilation)
Mystical prog w/Indian influences.
Mystic Records UK have just released [May 2003] the new Shiva Shakti album featuring singer Shiva Jones from legendary hippy band Quintessence, and their 2nd one is on its way and probably out in October [2003]. There will be a new Quintessence compilation album in October [2003]. -- Ralph Beauvert [a.k.a. Rudra of Shiva Shakti]
Click here for the Quintessence web page hosted by The Mooncow Project

Quoi De Neuf Docteur [France]
Updated 2/17/01

Live (84, Live)
French fusion band, who put out their single recording in 1984. The band consisted of ten players (6 brass and sax, drums, bass, vibraphone/keyboards, guitar) and they create a nice fusion, with heavy brass and dominating guitar (Return to Forever with brass section). -- Achim Breiling