Dutch progressive rock of the 1970's

Introduction

On this site you can find biographies, discographies, reviews and more about Dutch progressive rock bands who had their peak in the nineteen seventies. Click on the Sitemap to see a complete list. Go to the Progmap to get a geographical view of the bands.

Beginning

In the Netherlands the first signs of progressive rock music appeared when the band Group 1850 released it's debut " Agemo's trip to mother earth" in 1968. On this album they experienced with long tracks and strange sounds. In the same year Dragonfly release an excellent single. More dutch psych singles are gathered here.

Another early adopter was Brainbox. They combined a bluesy sound with progressive influences. Another important factor was that guitarhero Jan Akkerman played in this band. At the beginning of the new decade, the nineteen seventies, numerous dutch band became active in the progressive scene.

The dutch scene

So what can be said about progressive rock music in the Netherlands during the nineteen seventies? Was there a distinctive scene, comparable to Canterbury in England or Krautrock in Germany?

Well, not really. Dutch progressive rock consisted of the classic symphonic rock with lots of mellotrons ( Earth & Fire), the keyboard virtuoso band ( Ekseption), there was the more pop oriented progressive music ( Kayak, Tamalone). Hardrock with progressive edges ( Cosmic Dealer, Drama, Cargo, Brainbox, Machine, Pugh's Place, September, Voiz, Fragile, Crying Wood). There was the more psychedelic music ( Ahora Mazda, Group 1850, Dream, Suprieze, Ellufant, Children of Jubal, Ton Vlasman, Dragonfly, Danger). Of course there was also the Canterbury influenced music ( Supersister, Alquin, Panthéon, Mr Albert Show), the jazzy progressive music ( Pat Cool, Solution, Scope, Gamma, Spin) and the progressive-fusion combination ( Finch) and the more symphonic music ( Lethe, Mirror, Avalanche, Light, Saga, Bowl, Marakesh, Zoo, Fontessa, Sustain). Some bands made artrock ( Kracq, Het Pandorra Ensemble). There were some real Dutch masters ( Focus) and their followers ( Bonfire). And there was even a supergroup ( Trace). So all in all it was rather eclectic.

There was also some exchange of personnel between the bands. For instance, Bert Ruiter went from Focus to Earth & Fire, Michel van Dijk was the vocalist of Brainbox, Ekseption and Alquin, Beer Klaasse played drums for Groep 1850 and Finch. Pierre van der Linden played with Jan Akkerman in Brainbox and Focus, and then formed, with Ekseption keyboard wizard Rick van der Linden, the band Trace.

A striking thing about a lot of bands is that they only made one album: Ahora Mazda, Bonfire, Cargo, Cosmic Dealer, Drama, Light and Panthéon. More than average is the music (almost completely) instrumental: Bonfire, Cargo, Ekseption, Finch, Focus, Panthéon and Trace. This has of course a lot to do with the native language.

So, why were there so many progressive bands from the Netherlands? Maybe it has something to do with the music schools and conservatories, which are widespread and where classical music is taught. A lot of the bands have a jazzy sound, why that is I don't know, but it is striking.

Obscurities and sitemap

If you still haven't found that particular, long lost gem you can look at the special Obscurities section. And then there where bands who where not considered Progressive, but did make a progalbum. These bands can be found here.

The Sitemap can also be helpful.

Top 20

In conclusion I will give my totally arbitrary top 20 of progressive albums of Dutch bands from the seventies. Read about all these bands, but most of all listen to their music.

  1. Focus - Moving Waves (1971)
  2. Finch - Beyond Expression (1975)
  3. Supersister - To The Highest Bidder (1971)
  4. Alquin -The Mountain Queen (1973)
  5. Het Pandorra Ensemble - III (1978)
  6. Solution - Divergence (1972)
  7. Bonfire - Goes Bananas (1975)
  8. Kayak - Kayak (1974)
  9. Earth & Fire - Song Of The Marching Children (1971)
  10. Mr Albert Show - Warm Motor (1971)
  11. Ahora mazda - Ahora mazda (1970)
  12. Group 1850 - Paradise Now (1969)
  13. Brainbox - Brainbox (1969)
  14. Cargo - Cargo (1972)
  15. Ekseption - Beggar Julia's Time Trip (1970)
  16. Cosmic Dealer - Crystallization (1971)
  17. Panthéon - Orion (1972)
  18. Mirror - Daybreak (1976)
  19. Kracq - Circumvision (1978)
  20. Trace - Trace (1974)

In conclusion

On this site I have used several reviews from different sources. I haven't asked the authors for their permission. If you read one of your reviews, and you don't want it on this site, let me know and I will remove it.

You can mail me of course for any remark, question, addition, etcetera.