May 17, 2019

Danny Brymer Discusses Progressive Music

Article by Lauren Lyman

Before moving to Sedalia, Missouri in 2013, Danny Brymer was apart of local progressive rock band, The Aaron Clift Experiment. After his move, he formed a progressive rock trio, The Alea Dilemma, who released their debut album last year called Within the Clamor of Voices. This jazz fusion record is a strong and electrifying work, of which the band hopes to portray both complexity and artistry. I reached out to Danny Brymer, the lead vocalist and guitarist, for his views on progressive music, progressive rock, and how we can continue to think forward in the music industry.

“I see classical and jazz music as being art music counterparts to what I consider to be true ‘prog,” Brymer said. “I don’t want to be the ‘elitist prog police,’ but I believe that it is more than a mood or a vibe to capture, but it is working with the elements of music and painting or sculpting with them to create a work of art.”

Danny BrymerSpecifically on progressive rock, Brymer notes that while some bands today weigh heavily on the technical side of music, he believes there is more to offer.

“It seems like the odd time signatures and conceptual elements of typical prog are the only things really used by some modern prog bands, and the harmonic and melodic aspects are not as developed and end up being not that much different from pop music,” Brymer added. “Now that does not mean that prog needs to be highly technical and busy, because that is not all musical art is. The art songs of Schubert and the restrained, lyrical phrasing of Miles Davis tend to be profoundly simple, yet come from a place of richness and, for me, hold high artistic as well as emotional merit.”

He states that his influences as well as his band’s influences include Yes, Rush, Kansas, Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and many others when writing for a jazz fusion album. However, for Brymer personally, his concentrated years of classical study have specifically enhanced his songwriting.

“Getting into prog initially opened up my interest in classical music and I went neck deep in it for a while,” he commented. “At the same time as a guitarist, I played a lot of jazz and studied the greats such as Coltrane, Charlie Parker, etc and burned through the standards, and I concentrated on that for a while. While studying composition for my master degree, it occurred to me that a rock band is an ensemble just as an orchestra or string quartet, and I can borrow ideas and concepts from that and implement them in a rock setting, as I am an electric guitarist after all.”

The Alea Dilemma
The Alea Dilemma

He not only hopes to incorporate classical setting norms into the rock/fusion world, but also achieve a balance between cerebral discourse and aesthetic experiences.

“The composers of the early 20th Century lost touch with their audiences with the intense focus on cerebral music that alienated anyone searching for emotional expression,” Brymer speculated. “I believe as long as there is a good balance of focus on the composer, performer, and audience, progressive music can succeed and win people over.”

Also, he adds that progressive music needs to be promoted more often. All the more reason why Voyager Fest is determined to make that happen.

“I always wonder how Beethoven was able to write the complex masterpieces he did and be popular among audiences all over Europe and even America,” Brymer noted. “The culture determines thought, and if there was a way to influence culture more toward the higher arts, then progressive artists could flourish more.”

It’s a continuing challenge for all progressive musicians to overcome in their own circle of friends, with family, among people at the workplace, and to the regulars at the bars. Hence, this is the mission of Voyager Fest-to manifest a high-art, cultural hub as well as motivate all live music scenes to do the same.

To see a recent album review of Within the Clamor of Voices, please visit: http://progulator.com/reviews/the-alea-dilemma-within-the-clamor-of-voices/

For more information on The Alea Dilemma, please visit: http://www.thealeadilemma.com/

For more information on Danny Brymer, please visit: http://www.dannybrymer.com/

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