Back in Business: Semester two progress diary

Hello blog-world.

With the first semester of Honours complete, and an emotional three week vacation with my family in Norway behind me.. it’s time to commence my thesis at full-throttle and prepare myself for a rewarding second semester.

The main agenda of my blog posts for the remainder of this semester will be to document my ideas and thoughts about current research i am doing, and to chart my progress externally to my thesis project files – using the blog as a decentralised forum in which i can articulate any concerns, complications, successes or general excitement in what i am doing.

To bring any new readers up to speed here, the focus of my thesis this semester will be on the significance of the concept album in contemporary music, investigating its close relationship with technology over the course of five decades – from vinyl, to cassette, to compact disc, and now to digital distribution.

My supervisor, Ed Montano, and I caught up last week for the first time since last semester to discuss the previous assessments i had submitted, and also to devise a ‘gameplan’ of sorts for how i should approach my study this semester. The first thing on the agenda was to start drafting an ‘Introduction’, one of the hardest places to start a thesis but ultimately a helpful one for gathering ideas. We also agreed on the importance of settling on my series of case studies early, so i could guide my research more directly and begin to compile a rich repertoire of notes and information to work with.

While I doubt it will be necessary to provide two in depth case studies of concept albums from each decade of interest for my thesis (10 case studies in total), i have devised a shortlist as a starting point, which i can then narrow down as i intensify my research.

See below:

Case Studies

1960s: The Beatles’ Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).

1960s: King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King (1969).

1970s: Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick (1972).

1970s: Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974).

1980s: Camel’s Nude (1981).

1980s: Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime (1988).

1990s: David Bowie’s 1. Outside (1995).

1990s: Radiohead’s OK Computer (1997).

2000s: Coheed and Cambria’s The Amory Wars Saga (2002-2013).

2000s: Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick 2 (2012).

As I battle away at the first draft of my introduction in the week to come, I am sure I will need to seek an outlet of external expression at some point, so you can expect to see me back here sooner than you think!

Until then.

A gaunt and unusual looking Bowie promoting the 1.Outside concept album from 1995


About simonwoodhonours

Simon Wood (Honours in Media and Communication) is an RMIT student whose specialist discipline is in the 'contemporary music industry'. For his honours study in 2013, Simon will be researching the ‘concept album’, and its significance within the contemporary music industry.
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