Chon, and an Introduction Into the Modern Progressive Music Genre


Photo courtesy Guitar World

Jack Chen

For the uninitiated, prog is short for progressive rock which is characterized by its focus towards music that lends itself towards listening rather than dancing, and is characterized by complex polyrhythms, jazz chords, impressive musicianship, and a departure from standard pop traditions. Chon is widely known in the prog community but will never reach stardom due to their dedication to the prog sub-genre.

Born from Oceanside, California, this instrumental prog band started from local shows at their hometown and went on to selling out every show in their recent US tour. Their sound over time has always pointed in one direction, from heavy to feel good. Their rig is simple: just one drum set, bass, and a set of complimenting harmonizing guitars. Recently, they have been experimenting heavily with effects pedals. This means your first impression will vary depending on which album you listen to. What makes them unique is their inspiring guitar playing over the seamless use of complex rhythms. The feeling you get from listening cannot be conveyed effectively through words but only through the urge to bob your head from listening. Here are my highlights from various albums sorted by date:

  • Checkpoint
  • Waterslide
  • Bubble Dream
  • Story
  • O.G.
  • Temporarily Destabilized

If you enjoyed Chon and want to dive deeper into the prog scene, here are some other band suggestions sorted by heaviness (low to high):

  • Eternity Forever – Prime example of newer generation prog guitar playing using catchy pop melodies while maintaining other complexities.
  • Polyphia – (Try the newest album) Incredible lead guitar playing; takes major influences from hip hop in the latest album.
  • Artificial Language – Classical vocal and lead guitar style with heavy rhythm and double kicks.