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Westcoast....Hi-Tech AOR


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Looking for a little direction here people.....What exactly is Westcoast/hitech aor??...most of the bands mentioned as being in this genre I haven't heard of let alone their music......over the years I've listened to a few samples from supposedly WC/HT bands and I wasn't impressed......however I've really started to get into the 'normal' aor the last few years so I'm ready to expand my musical horizons so how about a few suggestions of bands/releases that I could pick up that would ease me into this type of aor, maybe to start , bands that are not just WC/HT but who also do some 'normal' aor......thanks...

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Westcoast is a particular sound, the U.S Westcoast sound which is a mix of pop/AOR/jazz etc and is usually ultra-laid back. I think this music stemmed from Jazz, and CHICAGO are one of the biggest names in the genre - though beware as most of the stuff in this genre is shit and way too lite. The best Westcoas album that I have is KING OF HEARTS - "S/T" album, which is a monster...

 

Hi-Tech is the use of multiple keyboards to create a pop/AOR sound. It's less about ballads and more uptempo. Marc Jordan's "COW" is technically a Hi-Tech AOR album and would be my pick as the best album in this genre....

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Westcoast is a particular sound, the U.S Westcoast sound which is a mix of pop/AOR/jazz etc and is usually ultra-laid back. I think this music stemmed from Jazz, and CHICAGO are one of the biggest names in the genre - though beware as most of the stuff in this genre is shit and way too lite. The best Westcoas album that I have is KING OF HEARTS - "S/T" album, which is a monster...

 

Hi-Tech is the use of multiple keyboards to create a pop/AOR sound. It's less about ballads and more uptempo. Marc Jordan's "COW" is technically a Hi-Tech AOR album and would be my pick as the best album in this genre....

 

The last time I heard Chicago it was their S/T......still have it on vinyl around here someplace.....always liked the songs 'Does anybody really know what time it is?' & 'I'm a Man'.......haven't heard of King of Hearts, I'll see what it goes for on eBay, the COW release seems reasonably priced so I'll see if I can get it.....how about West of Sunset...? I heard "Giving My Heart Away" the other day and I thought it was quite good....

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I have written an article about AOR and it's different subgenres. There's a section about westcoast music and it's connections to AOR, you may check it out at:

 

http://www.freewebs.com/cdkimpan/aorarticle.htm

 

As for good westcoast/AOR bands I personally recommend stuff like Toto (of course), Maxus, The Tubes, Chicago, Franke & The Knockouts, Balance. If you want even lighter westcoast I recommend artists like Greg Guidry, Tom Snow, Frankie Bleu, etc..

 

As for good high-tech AOR/pop AOR I believe there's already a thread on this forum with all sorts of recommendations that you may search out.

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Westcoast is a particular sound, the U.S Westcoast sound which is a mix of pop/AOR/jazz etc and is usually ultra-laid back. I think this music stemmed from Jazz, and CHICAGO are one of the biggest names in the genre - though beware as most of the stuff in this genre is shit and way too lite. The best Westcoas album that I have is KING OF HEARTS - "S/T" album, which is a monster...

 

Hi-Tech is the use of multiple keyboards to create a pop/AOR sound. It's less about ballads and more uptempo. Marc Jordan's "COW" is technically a Hi-Tech AOR album and would be my pick as the best album in this genre....

 

The last time I heard Chicago it was their S/T......still have it on vinyl around here someplace.....always liked the songs 'Does anybody really know what time it is?' & 'I'm a Man'.......haven't heard of King of Hearts, I'll see what it goes for on eBay, the COW release seems reasonably priced so I'll see if I can get it.....how about West of Sunset...? I heard "Giving My Heart Away" the other day and I thought it was quite good....

 

The problem with Westcoast is that it's generally just ballads, and you kinda have to be in the mood for it. The West of Sunset is good, especially now it's reasonably priced (though "Giving My Heart Away" is the best song). CLIF MAGNESS "Solo" is another - though maybe more AOR than Westcoast. Actually the WORK OF ART album from last year is genuinely one of the top Westcoast discs of the last 15-20 years or so (I know Jez/Glen will agree with me here). L.A COWBOYS "Endless Summer" is another KILLER Westcoast disc that has enough AOR to keep you interested - though think was JAP only so may not be cheap.

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Tim's description of Hi-Tech AOR is pretty spot on, imo. Here a few more CD'S that are generally classified as Hi-Tech AOR:

 

Body Electric - Walking through Walls

Device - 22B3

Fast Forward - Living in Fiction

John Rockwell - Crossfire

Leyden Zar - Leyden Zar

Palace - Brave new World

Shell & the Ocean - Turn Blue

Spin Gallery - Standing tall

Vienna - Guess what?

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though beware as most of the stuff in this genre is shit and way too lite. The best Westcoas album that I have is KING OF HEARTS - "S/T" album, which is a monster...

That must be the only westcoast album I have! Very good disc... not interested in any more, though. :)

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Westcoast is a particular sound, the U.S Westcoast sound which is a mix of pop/AOR/jazz etc and is usually ultra-laid back. I think this music stemmed from Jazz, and CHICAGO are one of the biggest names in the genre - though beware as most of the stuff in this genre is shit and way too lite. The best Westcoas album that I have is KING OF HEARTS - "S/T" album, which is a monster...

 

Hi-Tech is the use of multiple keyboards to create a pop/AOR sound. It's less about ballads and more uptempo. Marc Jordan's "COW" is technically a Hi-Tech AOR album and would be my pick as the best album in this genre....

 

The last time I heard Chicago it was their S/T......still have it on vinyl around here someplace.....always liked the songs 'Does anybody really know what time it is?' & 'I'm a Man'.......haven't heard of King of Hearts, I'll see what it goes for on eBay, the COW release seems reasonably priced so I'll see if I can get it.....how about West of Sunset...? I heard "Giving My Heart Away" the other day and I thought it was quite good....

 

The problem with Westcoast is that it's generally just ballads, and you kinda have to be in the mood for it. The West of Sunset is good, especially now it's reasonably priced (though "Giving My Heart Away" is the best song). CLIF MAGNESS "Solo" is another - though maybe more AOR than Westcoast. Actually the WORK OF ART album from last year is genuinely one of the top Westcoast discs of the last 15-20 years or so (I know Jez/Glen will agree with me here). L.A COWBOYS "Endless Summer" is another KILLER Westcoast disc that has enough AOR to keep you interested - though think was JAP only so may not be cheap.

 

 

Agreed on Work Of Art mate, one of the best in recent year. My list would be pretty endless on the subject of Westcoast and Hi-tech stuff, but you have named Clif Mageness, Chicago, West Of Sunset which would all be included for sure. For the Hi-tech angle my favourite would definitely be Marc Jordan's 'Talking Through Pictures' disc and Zappacosta's - S/T, both of which are absolutely stunning and for Westcoast stuff, then definitely Toto (probably IV - Of course) and the mighty Airplay, although once again there would be many inclusions for top recommendations.

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I've got very little westcoast/lite AOR in my collection, but a few that I would recommend you check out are:

 

Mr. Mister - Welcome to the Real World

Kurt Howell - S/T

Benjamin Orr - The Lace

Quarterback - Trampled Under Foot

Richard Marx - S/T & Repeat Offender

 

:drink:

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IMO there's a difference between Hi-Tech AOR and Westcoast/Hi-tech AOR (musicianship here is often more developed).

 

If you hear a lot of keyboards,and the production is crystal-clear (Richie Zito, Michael Omartian) and you have a feeling that the song would fit into a movie (back in the 80s) that's probably Hi-Tech AOR.

 

My favourite hi-tech AOR albums:

 

Robert Tepper - No easy way out

Starship - love among the cannibals

BLVD - st

 

 

My favourite westcoast/hi-tech AOR albums:

 

Tim Feehan -st / Pray for rain/ Full Contact

Keven Jordan - No sign of rain

Michael Thompson Band - st

Clif Magness - solo

WOA - artwork

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Keven Jordan - No sign of rain

 

Great disc....

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Thanks everyone for the input.....a bunch of the releases mentioned are in my sights...mainly Cliff Magness, WOA , Robert Tepper and BLVD, all of which I've heard samples that I thought were pretty good.....I'll check out the others mentioned and do a little more research....thanks again !

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