Sometimes I like to get my nerd on and listen to good old-fashioned prog. Not prog mixed with other stuff, like chaotic metalcore or grindcore downtempo, or whatever kids are playing on MySpace these days. No, I’m talking about pale-skinned male ponytails, preferably with a slight beer gut. Yes on Yes, no on Tull, Emerson, Lake & Palmer on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

The Thinking Stone
Space Foam

InsideOut is hands down the best source for this stuff. And as far as progginess goes, Planet X’s Quantum hits a 500-foot homer out of the park. It’s got all the ingredients – cheesy CGI fantasy artwork, keyboard solos with guitar-esque bends, oodles of “Peart is god” odd meters. No women in sight!

But these guys mostly keep their chops in check and carve out great grooves. The former is a surprise and the latter isn’t, given the jawdropping personnel. The rhythm section work is amazingly tasty. Virgil Donati is on drums – ’nuff said. Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater fame is on keyboards. Brett Garsed is on guitar, with the mighty Allan Holdsworth on two cuts. The band’s MySpace claim of “The sickest instrumental band in the world” might actually be true.

For this kind of prog, this album is pretty much perfect. Lovely chords provide space-age harmonic settings for these chops of doom. I found myself air-guitaring to a keyboard solo (yes, I am still single). The production is crisp, with no singer to muck things up. You can find this album at InsideOut’s American and European webstores.