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Picks from the WOBC Vault with (½ of) Journey Beyond the Khatru

By Teagan Hughes

Staff Writer

[originally published August 2021]


On August 6th, I met Tempest Baum in the WOBC vault and asked them to pick out their favorite records. Baum makes up half of Journey Beyond the Khatru, a show they co-host with co-DJ Hamish Robb. This semester, it runs on Fridays from 9 to 11 p.m., but it’s been running (with only one notable hiatus) since 2018. “It’s a prog rock show, but we also play pretty much everything adjacent to progressive rock,” Baum said. “So, everything from psychedelic folk to progressive electronic to technical death metal...we really try to play a really wide variety...all of which has some form of roots in the progressive music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.” Asked for a loose definition of prog rock, Baum gave me examples of artists in the genre, like Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Tool, The Mars Volta, and Jethro Tull. Prog rock is “music that starts with the tradition of rock music, and basically expands well beyond the traditional definition of it,” Baum said. “[It] incorporates other influences, and basically just pushes the boundary of what rock music means.”

Baum began over by the jazz vinyls, where they pointed out records by Pat Metheny and Jean-Luc Ponty as great examples of jazz fusion, a genre related to progressive rock.


Imaginary Voyage (1976) and Enigmatic Ocean (1977) by Jean-Luc Ponty

TB: This is a great example of jazz fusion that is informed by classical. This album, Enigmatic Ocean, is one of his most popular jazz fusion records, and it starts with a 47-second track called “Overture,” and, you know, the idea of an overture is very much a classical idea. But also, on both of these albums you have these multi-part suites that are compositions that are all sort of connected. So you have the title suites on both of these, “Enigmatic Ocean” and “Imaginary Voyage,” both of which have four sections to them. They make up one composition, but they’re these four-part suites, which is very much a classical thing. This one actually has one of my favorite Jean-Luc Ponty songs on it, which is called “New Country.” It’s a great jazz-bluegrass thing, and it’s really cool...Even just bringing violin into jazz is sort of bringing the classical world into it.


We moved from the jazz room to the shelves of pop and rock vinyls, where Baum picked out a couple Kansas albums, one Caravan album, a few Supertramp albums, and a Ween record, which they specified that they were pulling on behalf of their absent co-DJ Hamish.


Leftoverture (1976) and Point of Know Return (1977) by Kansas

TB: These are the albums Leftoverture and Point of Know Return by Kansas, from ‘76 and ‘77 respectively. Both of these are awesome albums…[Leftoverture] starts with “Carry On My Wayward Son” and it ends with a 6-part suite called “Magnum Opus.” This one [Point of Know Return] is a little bit more commercially accessible, which is weird because it’s still very progressive and out there, but the songs don’t have as many crazy instrumental breaks in them. This album has “Dust in the Wind” on it.

TH: Oh, we sang that in choir!

TB: The song after that is called “Sparks of the Tempest,” which is cool ‘cause that’s my name.

TH: What are your favorite songs on these albums?

TB: So, my favorite songs from this album [Leftoverture]...I love the song “Miracles out of Nowhere,” it has an awesome vocal part where at the end of each chorus, it does this “it’s just love and miracles out of nowhere,” some shit like that, and the note he hits the second or third time he does that is just insane. And he hits it in—I don't know if it’s a belt or if it’s a mix thing, but it just sounds so full and it’s such a high note that it’s insane. The song “Opus Insert” has sort of grew on me more over the course of last semester; it has some amazing vocal harmonies in it. “Magnum Opus,” I mean, is just an amazing thing. It has a really cool vibraphone part in it, which is awesome. From this album [Point of Know Return], I mean, the opening title track is a classic. It was actually also a radio hit in the ‘70s, and it has this crazy—I think it’s something like, he cuts a beat off of one measure so it’s—I don’t know if it’s in 7, or 13, or 15, but it’s really cool. Actually, the song “Sparks of the Tempest” is a really cool song. “Closet Chronicles” is really awesome, as is the last song “Hopelessly Human.”

If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You (1970) by Caravan

TB: Caravan is part of what was called the Canterbury scene. It was originally bands from the city of Canterbury in England. The Canterbury sound is a very specific sound that combines a psychedelic sound with jazz, and a little bit of avant-garde, and often some folk influence too...this is a really awesome record.

TH: Do you have favorite songs on this one?

TB: I love all the long ones...a lot of these are suites, and they don’t even have overall suite names; a lot of people refer to this [indicating the second track] as “And I Wish I Were Stoned,” but it’s actually “And I Wish I Were Stoned” and then “Don’t Worry,” but that’s an awesome one. “With An Ear to the Ground You Can Make It,” which then goes into “Martinian,” “Only Cox,” “Reprise,” that’s a great one; that might be my favorite. But also “Can’t Be Long Now,” this suite is also amazing. One of those two is probably my favorite.

Crime of the Century (1974), Even in the Quietest Moments… (1977), and Brother Where You Bound (1985) by Supertramp

TB: Supertramp, actually, are quite possibly, either after Pink Floyd or tied with Pink Floyd, the most commercially successful prog band from the 70s, and the only reason they’re probably not as successful is cause they blew it. So this [Crime of the Century] was their third album, but it was their first album that actually got them anywhere. It’s an amazing concept’s about how, kids who struggle in school, or who are like the “problem children,” society doesn’t help them at all...This album is outstanding. Funny thing is, they released an album the year after this called Crisis? What Crisis?, which was another sorf of social commentary album, and it didn’t really do well at all, and they just came back in ‘77 with an album that did much better...and everybody just kind of ignored the ‘75 album [Crisis? What Crisis?], and just was like ‘okay.’ Which is kind of funny, but yeah, they did that, and that album’s called Even in the Quietest Moments…; it has “Give a Little Bit,” which is one of their most popular songs, and then it also closes with one of my favorite songs by them which is a ten-minute, multi-part song called “Fool’s Overture”...there’s some amazing production on that. They released Breakfast in America in ‘79, which is by far their most famous record.

TH: That is the one I know!

TB: Yes, and [it’s] more commercial and more towards pop, but also definitely has its prog moments...This was a band where there were two main guys, it was Roger Hodgson and Richard Davies. And they were the core of the band, they were the two songwriters, and their partnership is what made the band...After Breakfast in America, they kind of went downhill. They were both still on their ‘82 album, which nobody really gives a shit about—I’m gonna be honest, I don’t even remember off the top of my head what it’s called—and then they basically blew it...One of them left the band, and that’s what blew it. [reading the back cover of Brother Where You Bound] Yeah, Roger Hodgson left the band, Rick Davies was doing it. It’s called Brother Where You Bound, which is a reference to the fact that Roger Hodgson left the band. And I’m basically using my dad’s words—’cause my dad was a huge fan of them, and I remember talking to him about this—he told me they were one of the most successful, basically, most valuable music partnerships, and they just completely blew it. But, for about a decade, these guys were really awesome.

GodWeenSatan: The Oneness (1990) by Ween (on behalf of Robb)

TB: Ween is one of those bands that’s just so weirdly connected to the world of progressive rock, because they’re not a band that is obviously influenced by Yes...for example, “Ocean Man”...that’s a song that’s very much a radio hit, but some of the other songs on that album that that’s from, The Mollusk, you can clearly hear the influence of ‘70s prog. There’s a song on there we’ve played on our show called “Buckingham Green” that has these harmonized acoustic guitar parts, and they’re very dramatic. It gets orchestral at the end; there’s a really dramatic timpani part in the last verse. And they started more as an experimental rock thing, and then moved towards this sort of neo-psychedelic world.


Before leaving behind the pop and rock vinyls, Baum pointed out a three-record live Yes compilation (“probably an example of the excess of progressive rock because it has, you know, a lot on it”), a Rush record (“nothing off here was very commercially popular, because it opens with an 18-minute song that’s the second part to a song from their previous album”), and a Queen record.

We moved to the room of pop and rock CDs, immediately on your right when you enter WOBC. I also took a look at WOBC’s metal CD collection, stored in a metal cabinet (fun, right?), for anything that may fall under prog rock. In the metal-metal cabinet, CDs are separated into precise micro-genres, each stored in one or two lidless plastic Tupperwares. I picked up both progressive metal Tupperwares and carried them into the pop CD room. I’d just gone to close the metal-metal cabinet when I heard “Oh shit, here we go! This is some good stuff!” from the pop CD room.


De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003) by The Mars Volta

TB: [reading off the WOBC label on the CD case] “insane psychedelic prog fusion metal punk craziness. Non-stop brilliance. If you hate this album, you are a stupid hipster.” Nice. No, this is an amazing album. This is probably one of the most popular modern prog records. This was released in 2003...The other reason I say these guys are one of the most successful modern prog bands is that, other than Tool, they’re probably the only modern prog band I can name that’s won a Grammy. Tool won a lot of Grammys for Best Metal Performance; their [The Mars Volta] song “Wax Simulacra” from 2008 won Best Rock Song, I believe [author’s note: The Mars Volta did, in fact, win Best Hard Rock Performance for “Wax Simulacra” in 2008]. But yeah, this is an amazing album.


Baum also picked out CDs from Tool, Opeth, and Leprous before they had to get going. Their full list of albums can be found below:

Full List:

  • Yessongs (1973) by Yes

  • Crime of the Century (1974) by Supertramp

  • Brother Where You Bound (1985) by Supertramp

  • Even in the Quietest Moments… (1977) by Supertramp

  • Hemispheres (1978) by Rush

  • If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You (1970) by Caravan

  • Leftoverture (1976) by Kansas

  • Point of Know Return (1977) by Kansas

  • A Night at the Opera (1975) by Queen

  • Imaginary Voyage (1976) by Jean-Luc Ponty

  • Enigmatic Ocean (1977) by Jean-Luc Ponty

  • Letter from Home (1989) by the Pat Metheny Group

  • GodWeenSatan: The Oneness (1990) by Ween

  • Tall Poppy Syndrome (2009) by Leprous

  • De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003) by The Mars Volta

  • Ghost Reveries (2005) by Opeth

  • 10,000 Days (2006) by Tool

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