What is Art Rock? Read The Definition and Development History

What is Art rock? Art Rock is a subgenre of rock music that reflects a new form of change. It can also be referred to as the avant-garde of the rock genre. Art rock has elements of modern, experimental, or unconventional forms. The goal of the formation of art rock is to change the function of rock from mere entertainment to an artistic statement and conceptual experimentation in music.

Art rock is heavily influenced by genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz. Art rock was created with the aim not only to be heard but also to contemplate. Not even for dancing. In its development, art rock often uses electronic texture effects that are easy to listen to. This is a far cry from propulsive rock rhythms. In addition, art rock is often associated with “progressive rock“.

What is Art Rock

This genre achieved its popularity in the early 1970s through British artists and musicians. In this movement, music like theater is related to genre, so it has artistic interest by teenagers and adults, mainly because of the complexity of the music and its lyrics. The presence of art rock lasted from 1966-1967 and ended with the arrival of punk in the mid-1970s. After that, the art rock genre was often applied to the next music genre in the 1970s and 1990s.

What is Art Rock

The notion of “art” is generally understood as a “naive avant-garde” or “progressive pretentious”, including in the rock music scene in the 1970s. Although often confused with progressive rock, historically, the two terms are closely related. But the two differ in that art rock refers to groups rejecting psychedelia and hippies in favor of the modernist, avant-garde approach defined by the Velvet Underground. And art rock is not directly related to progressive rock.

Art rock emphasizes the romantic side and tradition, in the aesthetic distinction of the everyday and embodied by pop art. American pop musicians Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman defined art rock as “a form of rock music that mixes classical and European rock music”, examples being King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Pink Floyd.

The general characteristics of the album are more oriented towards complex compositions, long instrument sessions, and synchronization. This genre in the recording process has a lyrical context and theme that tends to be “imaginative” and politically oriented.

The differences between art rock and progressive rock are identified through the avant-garde and experimental emphasis. While progressive rock emphasizes classical instrument techniques, literary content, and synchronization. Compared to progressive rock, art rock is “more challenging, noisy, and unconventional.” However, what the two have in common is that the depiction of the British attempt to make rock music achieves artistic credibility.

Art rock refers to the thrust of rock music and progressive rock-folk fusion. Bruce Edler’s essay The Early History of Art Rock/Prog Rock states that “‘progressive rock’ is sometimes known as ‘art rock,’ or ‘classical rock.’ Bands play suites, not just songs, borrowing riffs from Beethoven, Bach, Wagner’ not borrowing Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Art rock uses language much closer to William Blake or T.S. Elliot than Carl Perkins or Willie Dixon.”

History of Art Rock

In the 1960s, the boundaries between art and pop music became increasingly blurred throughout the second half of the 20th century. The term art rock was first recorded in 1968 in the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary. As pop music progressed from just working on songs to working on albums, many rock bands made strong artistic statements. This makes art rock music is growing. As progressive rock developed, art rock gained notoriety alongside experimental rock. What is The Rock?

Phil Spector, a producer, and songwriter, is considered a pioneer in art rock. Richard Williams, a biographer said that Spector created a new concept, producer, and director of the entire creative process, from start to finish. Phil Spector’s role starts from choosing the artist, writing or selecting material, overseeing the arrangement, teaching singers to sing phrases, thinking through the entire recording process, paying attention to detail, until he finally produces a new thing on his label.

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Williams also said that Spector turned rock music from a performance into art that could only exist in the studio, paving the way for art rock. Until then many British music groups in the 1960s, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stone, The Who, The Move, The Yardbirds, and Pink Floyd became musicians who came from art school. Andy Warhol also made a significant approach to art rock.

This continued when The Beatles released the album Rubber Soul in December 1965. The album marked a change from pop albums ever. The Beatles made changes in their collection of initially low-quality singles to compositions that were of artistic quality. The period when rock music is very closely related to art is believed to have started in 1966. What is the Rock?

Clash music later incorporated Velvet Underground’s debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico as original art rock. At that time, no other band had the same thinking as the musicians, writers, and art rock connoisseurs of the 1970s to 1980s. Then, art rock reached its popularity in the early 1970s through British musicians. Enthusiasm in exploring art rock began to wane in the mid-1970s. While in the 1990s, art rock began to be absorbed in the pop music genre.

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