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RIO/AVANT-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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RIO/Avant-Prog definition

Avant-Prog

Avant-prog is an umbrella term which refers to any progressive rock artist with a strong leaning towards avant-garde and highly experimental approaches to music. Therefore, it includes the sub-genres of Rock In Opposition (see below) and Zeuhl in addition to general avant-prog artists.

Avant-prog is generally considered to be more extreme and 'difficult' than other forms of progressive rock, though these terms are naturally subjective and open to interpretation. Common elements that may or may not be displayed by specific avant-prog artists include:

- Regular use of dissonance and atonality.
- Extremely complex and unpredictable song arrangements.
- Free or experimental improvisation.
- Fusion of disparate musical genres.
- Polyrhythms and highly complex time signatures.

Most avant-prog artists are highly unique and eclectic in sound and consequently tend to resist easy comparisons. However, Frank Zappa is often cited as a major influence on many avant-prog artists due to his early adoption of avant-garde and experimental attitudes within a predominantly rock/jazz context.


Rock In Opposition

Rock In Opposition (RIO for short) is the name of a short-lived movement that has gone on to define a sub-genre of progressive rock, and which is now sometimes applied to musicians whose careers hadn't even started by the time the movement had ceased to exist in any official capacity. It is not synonymous with the term avant-prog, for whilst bands associated with RIO are (generally speaking) avant-prog in nature, most avant-prog bands are not associated with RIO.

The roots of RIO can be traced to Henry Cow, a UK progressive rock band with a distinctly avant-garde sound and left wing political ideology. Henry Cow toured extensively in Europe throughout much of the 1970s and came into contact with a few similarly inclined bands, in an ideological sense as much, if not more, than a musical one. These groups did not always have much in common stylistically, apart from a basic leaning towards fusing avant-garde qualities with elements of rock. Most of these bands were working independently at the time and had no distribution or realistic opportunity of touring outside their native countries. The idea of Rock In Opposition was to create an independent network of like-minded performers that would not be dependent on the largesse of major record companies for their survival.

Henry Cow invited four of these bands to play alongside them at the first Rock in Opposition festival on 12th March 1978, at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane in London. The British Arts Council helped the funding of the festival with a Ł1000 grant. The Rock in Opposition slogan "The music the record companies don't want you to hear" was altered very slightly for the flyer advertising the first Rock in Opposition concert.

The five initial Rock in Opposition bands were:

Henry Cow (England)
Univers Zero (Belgium)
Etron Fou Leloublan (France)
Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden)
Stormy Six (Italy)

Three additional bands were later officially elected to the movement:

Art Zoyd (France)
Art Bears (England)
Aksak Maboul (Belgium)

The involved bands had many disagreements in a meeting at Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Switzerland in December 1978 about the purpose of the group, and its meaning. They eventually came up with a plan to continue their joint concerts. They organised three more festivals and co-operative record distributions but eventually the RIO group dissolved. It left behind a legacy that would initially be picked up by later projects from the many musicians involved with the original movement, and later on by artists inspired by the original RIO groups. Miriodor and Ensemble Nimbus are often said to be influenced by Samla Mammas Manna, for example, and are consequently sometimes referred to as RIO bands.

Since 2007, a contemporary RIO festival has been held most years in Carmaux, France. This festival has included artists closely associated with the original RIO movement alongside bands from the wider world of avant-prog and experimental music.

Dates of the original RIO festivals

12 March 1978 at New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London, England (set up by Henry Cow)
26 April 1979 to 1 May 1979 at Teatro dell'Elfo, Milano, Italia (set up by Stormy Six)
28/29 September 1979 in Uppsala, Sweden (set up by Samla Mammas Manna)
Bruxelles, Belgium (set up by Univers Zero)

Useful links

Information on RIO from Chris Cutler's website

Additional historical information on Squidco

Written/Compiled/Edited by past and present members of the RIO/Avant-Prog team

Current team members:
as at 20/05/2016

Raffaella (Raff)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Ori (frippism)

RIO/Avant-Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 RIO/Avant-Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.33 | 1473 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.32 | 853 ratings
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 868 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.33 | 225 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.34 | 167 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.46 | 65 ratings
HÄXAN
Art Zoyd
4.51 | 51 ratings
TAIGA
OOIOO
4.29 | 273 ratings
HERESIE
Univers Zero
4.28 | 275 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.27 | 306 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.25 | 362 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.26 | 270 ratings
MĹLTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.37 | 77 ratings
Nş 6
Present
4.60 | 32 ratings
JACKSON
Korekyojinn
4.49 | 42 ratings
LETTERS HOME
News From Babel
4.35 | 79 ratings
DECEIT
This Heat
4.35 | 75 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.30 | 107 ratings
ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
Cardiacs
4.24 | 236 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.42 | 51 ratings
SIRENS AND SILENCES / WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER
News From Babel

RIO/Avant-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the RIO/Avant-Prog experts team

LETTERS HOME
News From Babel
VČCI
Combo FH
KILLED BY CHARITY
X-Legged Sally
ZYPRESSEN
Zypressen

Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Iron Path by LAST EXIT album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.70 | 5 ratings

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Iron Path
Last Exit RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I guess you could file this under "just not my thing" I suppose. According to the bio these four guys are Free Jazz musicians who all had ties to NYC's 1980's Punk Jazz scene. This is supposed to be the tamest of all their albums as they can be very loud and noisy, especially their live releases. I have to say that Free jazz is one of my least favourite sub-genres but I thought I'd give this a shot. It's filed under Free Jazz and Experimental Jazz by many and I like it being under Avant here at PA. A four piece with some insane sax provided by German Peter Brotzmann plus we get bassist Bill Laswell, drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson and guitarist Sonny Sharrock.

"Prayer" opens with atmosphere that builds as different sounds come and go and it's quite haunting. It kicks in at a minute with aggressive drumming with guitar over top. Soon it's drums only then the sax jumps in around 2 minutes. The guitar is back along with some vocal expressions. The drums are relentless. Nice bass after 3 minutes as dissonant sax joins in. The guitar is back late in this intense opener. "Iron Path" has picked guitar and percussion to start, no real melody along with atmosphere. That changes before 3 minutes with pulsating sounds, picked guitar and more. Not big on this one.

"The Black Bat(For Aki Ikuta)" has a steady beat as the guitar eventually joins in. Sax to the fore around 3 minutes and it will get dissonant. "Marked For Death" is tamer with drums being the focus along with atmosphere. That changes when the sax arrives after a minute(haha). "The Fire Drum" is my favourite. Rumbling drums and clashing cymbals to start and I really like this when that beat arrives after a minute as the bass and guitar join in. The guitar will come and go then sax arrives after 2 1/2 minutes then more guitar. Sax is back before 3 1/2 minutes.

"Detonator" has a somewhat heavy sound to it. It turns experimental quickly though with drums and more. Some wild sax after a minute and it will come and go. "Sad Dancer" is melodic and short at under 2 minutes. Bass and guitar lead the way, not bad at all. "Cut And Run" has rumbling drums with guitar over top then the sax replaces the guitar as they trade off. I like this one.

"Eye For An Eye" opens with feedback that pulses kind of like "This Is Now" before the sax drones. Back to the pulses as contrasts continue until sax only lets it rip in a disconcerting manner then back to the contrasts. "Devil's Rain" ends it and I'd rate this as my second favourite. A fairly melodic drum driven start with dissonant sax coming and going. The sax gets pretty crazy late.

In my world a 3 star album but many seem to love it so you be the judge.

 Hot Rats by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.33 | 1473 ratings

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Hot Rats
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by WFV

5 stars The original jazzrock album and arguably the best. Frank warped the sensibilities in others like no musical artist before or since. The recommendation for listeners is sit down in a room alone and either blast this album through your best speakers or listen with headphones on. Frank sets the stage with his most resplendent peaches en regalia then the Beef warms the cockles singing about street merchant Willie. Sugar Cane Harris and Jean Luc Ponty add unbelievable color to the already colorful and the result is one of the most important and individualized statements released in modern times. Frank didn't break molds, he made them.
 Banda Elastica 2 by BANDA ELÁSTICA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.01 | 18 ratings

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Banda Elastica 2
Banda Elástica RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars BANDA ELASTICA are a challenging 7 piece band out of Mexico and this is their highly regarded second album released in 1986. I'd rate this as my fifth favourite from that year although maybe that's not saying a lot considering the year. Very much an Avant album with Chamber-like music at times and quite a few guests helping out as well. Many rate this as the best from this year for the compositions and performance but for my tastes a very solid 4 star album that is difficult to digest at times. Besides the usual rock instruments we get flute, sax, bass clarinet, synths, marimbas along with guest violin, viola, cello, oboe, congas and more.

"Cine Negro" is the 10 minute opener and it's quite faint and distant to start out with bass, some drum outbursts and other sounds that come and go. It finally kicks in some before 3 minutes to a fuller sound and this sounds really good as we get a rhythm and strange vocal expressions. A beat and flute too. A calm before 6 minutes as the drums and flute stop and horns and more start to come and go. Very sparse again, almost Chamber-like here. I like how it builds to the end with those intricate sounds.

"Como Esquizoides" opens with marimba and oboe before horns and drums kick in along with other sounds. Spanish sounding guitar follows. A change 2 minutes in as flute, drums, bass more take over. Marimbas too as it sort of starts and stops. "Recomenzando" opens with drums, horns and more creating a fuller sound here. Catchy as well as flute joins in. I like this one. This is the first of three great tracks in row.

"Infantos Terribles" opens with guitar and some depth. Sounds like rain sticks that come and go. Flute to the fore with lots of intricate sounds. The guitar and flute will trade off before the keyboards lead then back to the flute and guitar trade offs. Horns come and go. Lots of marimba here too. "Perverses Polmerfos" is mellow with picked guitar as flute, bass, drums and more join in. The guitar turns aggressive, a rare thing but it's brief. Marimba joins in then it settles back as contrasts continue. Dissonant horns 1 1/2 minutes in, bass clarinet too. It settles again then drums only before the bass joins in. Intricate sounds follow as it stays sparse. Love the electric piano starting around 5 minutes. So good, my favourite part. It ends after 6 1/2 minutes. Spanish sounding guitar follows then flute as it plays out.

"Espejismo" has these dissonant sounding pulses with atmosphere and more until around 3 minutes in, but it's still sparse with guitar over top. Horns before 4 minutes with rain sticks, percussion ad a beat. Exotic sounds follow as this plays out. Bass clarinet as well. "Alto A La Caceria" has the guitar and drums trading off at first before a steady sound follows. An avant sounding piece with prominent bass. Themes are repeated. Synths before 2 1/2 minutes.

"Pavor Real" has some nice aggressive guitar to start before marimba, bass, a beat and more take over. Horns too along with synths then the tempo picks up briefly. It will continue to shift though. Blasting horns after 1/2 minutes then another calm with bass only this time. Then it builds with synths, drums and more, guitar too. I like this. "Pesadila" has spacey synths to begin with before drums, bass and guitar join in. There's more then the horns trade off with the guitar. Marimba helps out then bass clarinet takes the lead after 1 1/2 minutes for a while. Spacey synths after 3 minutes along with marimba and drums.

"Derrumbes En Almibar" starts with guitar and drums. Pleasant is the word as flute and much more join in just before a minute. Horns come and go. A calm after 1 1/2 minutes with guitar and drums. Nice. Horns are back around 2 1/2 minutes. Some rare piano before 3 minutes. "Mambop" is traditional sounding with guest trumpet and percussion as horns honk. Vocals follow and this is so Spanish sounding as horns blast. A lot of start and stopping here. Piano leads for a while, lots of percussion too. Prominent bass too which is jazzy. Big finish.

Avant fans will love this especially if you like that Spanish flavour.

 The Hidden Man Of The Heart by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.31 | 60 ratings

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The Hidden Man Of The Heart
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars So, composer and keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky is back with the same line-up as last time, except here he has extended his musical travelling even further. The album consists of 14 tracks and lasts 63 minutes. Various keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flute and trumpet are supplemented by exotic kinds of percussion, mandolin, bass clarinet and even a string quartet! Musically Roz Vitalis are often viewed as being part of the RIO and Avant prog movement, but given that I listen to an incredible amount of RIO these days this now seems quite mainstream to me! At the very heart of the music, as always, is Ivan either providing keyboards or adding the complex simplicity of his piano. With the use of strings and brass on this album, there is an additional depth that may have been missing in the past, but given that I have enjoyed every album of theirs that I have heard I am possibly not really fit to judge too much!

That they are one of the finest progressive bands around at the moment is never in doubt, and each time I play this album I find myself getting totally lost inside its majesty. This album, even more so than their others, takes Ivan much more into the realms of being a modern orchestral composer who knows just want to get from each of the instruments at his disposable,. Creating a seamless piece of music that moves from one movement to the next. I love the way that the violins at the commencement of "Wounded By The Lion and Adder" start in perfect harmony and then lose that togetherness as the song progresses, quite deliberately, before moving into a full string quartet. The unusual combination of memorable/hooking melodies and sophisticated compositional structures with complex system of leitmotivs makes for a very impressive album indeed.

 Bran Coucou by PINIOL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.20 | 41 ratings

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Bran Coucou
PiNioL RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by raigor

5 stars Featuring the current members of French bands PoiL, Ni., and Lunatic Toys, "Bran Coucou" is a long awaited debut album by PinioL from Lion, France. PinioL is a septet composed of two autonomous power-trios which are bound into the tight ensemble by a free conductor-keyboardist. From the very first movement in music, it becomes clear that these guys came to deliver complex, dense, ultra polyphonic and polyrhythmic, violent, loud and heavy Avant-Prog-Metal. The instrumental parts with multiple traces of RIO, Zeuhl, Art-Core, Math-Metal, Noise-Jazz, and other musical traditions are accompanied by gibberish singing which adds freakishly positive madness to the entire show. Don't be led astray by smooth and smarmy preludes or passages. This is a tough thing from the beginning to the end. But adventurous and open-minded music lovers will be rewarded for sure. If you enjoy brutal, deviant, and surreal Avant-Prog-Metal, "Bran Coucou" is a must have for you. P.S. Absolutely agree with the view that "Bran Coucou" is the best album (best of "Underground Prog") of the first half of 2018. Cheers to PinioL and Dur Et Doux label!
 Ahead Of Their Time by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 1993
3.23 | 76 ratings

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Ahead Of Their Time
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Frank Zappa said that this was to be the last "Mothers" album. It was released in 1993 before his death, but the recording is from a much earlier concert, performed in 1968 at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Frank said that the band was their own opening act and that all the band members put on a play written by Frank with music performed mostly by 14 members of the BBC symphony. This recording of the play was previously available on the "Mystery Disc", but the rock portion of the concert was not previously available. Frank thought it was an important concert to have on record, so he put the entire show back together for consumer purchase, but he himself said it was only a "fair - not outstanding - Mothers of Invention rock concert performance".

So, this is the album that resulted from that decision. The first part of the album is the play which was entitled "Progress?" and, from what I can gather, it was pretty much a comedy, or satire, of life in a rock n roll band called the "Mothers". Knowing Frank, this was all based on events in the band, made into a funny skit, with a lot of dialogue (spoken parts) and music thrown in as needed. As mentioned earlier, Frank said the music was done by part of the BBC symphony, but I believe that a lot of it was also done by the band. What ever the case, the music itself is quite Avant-Garde, as you would expect from Frank's classical music. A lot of the music coincides with what is going on in the play itself, dramatizing things further. The "Prologue" to the play has many classical themes and sections from Mozart among others. This is track 1. Tracks 2 - 10 are the different parts of the play, some are only spoken parts, others are a mix of spoken parts and music. The recording is quite excellent, so there are no worries there. The problem is that we only have the audio portion of the play, and, judging from the audience's reactions, we miss quite a bit of the point of the play not being able to see it. You do catch part of the humor, and if you have the lyrics in front of you, it makes a little more sense, but it would have been better to actually see what was going on. Because of this, the first part of the album seems confusing and disjointed, and, if you didn't know that it was a play they were doing, you would start wondering what kind of ridiculousness is this anyway.

The good news about the album, is that the rest of the album is the "rock portion" of the concert. Things do get better at this point. Tracks 11 - 20 contain some decent examples of classic Mothers and Zappa recordings in this live setting. The "Epilogue" of the play flows right into the first track of this section, which is a rendition of the Zappa improvisational classic "King Kong". it is a decent version, but there are better ones out there, as on the "Uncle Meat" album. Next is a very short and very different version of "Help! I'm a Rock" mostly consisting of percussion with an even shorter vocal compared to the original version on the "Freak Out!" album. This is the last of the vocals on the album, as the rest of the album is instrumental. You will recognize a lot of the classic Mothers tunes, some of them will be improvised on and others are short and straight forward. Seasoned Zappa listeners will recognize pieces of this part of the performance from various other recordings and that is because Frank spliced them into other albums, like, for instance "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" and so on. Each track flows right into the other. The best tracks are the longer ones where the band does more improvisation as in "Pound for a Brown" and "Orange County Lumber Truck", but being interspersed with shorter snippets of Zappa melodies, it does break up the density of the improvisational sections.

Overall, it's an okay representation of the Mothers in concert, but there are better examples out there. The best part of the album is the musical performances, but the first half of the album definitely takes away from the rock/jazz fusion of the 2nd half. There are also many recordings that are a lot worse than this, so we can throw this one in the middle with 3 stars.

 Точное время / Precise Time by HAPPY 55 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2018
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Точное время / Precise Time
Happy 55 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Happy 55 is a band out of Russia, but the lead keyboardist currently lives in the U.S. They have self released a few albums and E.P.s, which I have not heard yet. This is my first experience with the band, and let me tell you, it is an avant-prog party for the senses. "Precise Time" is the newest release to date, June 2018. It is listed under albums, but it only has 3 songs with a run time of only around 16 minutes, so it is really an E.P. But one thing for sure, it will leave you wanting more, especially if you are a fan of Rock in Opposition, or Avant Garde Progressive music.

I call these three tracks "compositions" because they are not songs in the traditional sense as much as they are compositions in the contemporary classical sense or the modern jazz sense. The sound is a combination of both styles with a lot of progressive aspects thrown in. They have quite a list of influences from Stravinsky to King Crimson, though it leans more towards the 21st Century classical music more than the rock influences, though they are definitely there. If anything, to me they sound more like "Henry Cow" than anything else, but even then, that's not completely right either. The best thing about all of this, and what makes me most excited about their sound, is that it is driven by acoustic piano. Drums are also in the mix, and they are used as both a standard rhythm generator and totally non-standard at other times becoming more than just a background sound.

The first track, which is the title track "Precise Time" is a very happy sounding track, but not because it's something you feel like whistling, because you can't. The piano drives this along with some great percussion, with support from electronics and synths. This added all together gives a very unique sound, never annoying, always interesting. They do consider themselves a combination of electronics and acoustics and it usually happens all at the same time. There are no standard sounding melodies here though, as there is a lot of dissonance, which makes it amazing that it is still a very happy sounding track even with all of these strange harmonies, scales, chords and sounds going on. The movement of the driving melodies (if you can call them that) are always moving. At about the 4 minute mark, there is a major change in the sound and things almost get frantic. This part gets me really excited as the speed increases and interesting repeating sounds come out of the synths.

The next track is "All Green" and this one immediately sounds different. There are 3 voices speaking in another language which I don't understand. They continue for a short time and then reverb is added slowly along with music until the voices are taken over altogether. This is more of a dark sound, again driven by the piano at first. About halfway through, the clarinet takes over the spotlight, and then eventually, both the piano and clarinet play notes that constantly move and weave around each other. It all seems to be done in a minor key, though I am not sure if there is a specific key here, and I certainly have no idea what mode they are using either, possibly even 12 tone. That would make sense since Prokofiev and Stravinsky are influences.

The last track is my favorite entitled "Tolk". This one uses the best example of standard pop rhythms at certain times and non- standard at other times. That is the only thing close to standard here because everything else playing here does not necessarily follow the rhythm. This is a very interesting combination. The standard rhythm drops out and comes back occasionally, but the non-standard percussion also continues. There is a lot going on here, lots of dynamics, rhythm changes, nice builds and releases throughout the track. Very enjoyable.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable EP that keeps you wanting more. It definitely has me interested in hearing their other releases. The production is excellent, the sound is mostly bright, but also dark in places. Dynamics are very, very well used here, and that is probably the strongest asset. These guys really know what they are doing, and I would say they sound like they are classically trained with an interest in Jazz and progressive rock. Nothing is predictable here, so don't expect that going in to this one. What it is though, is a lot of fun, which is something you can't always say about contemporary classical music since must of it (not all of it though) comes off sounding rather clinical, where this is anything but clinical. All lovers of RIO and Avant Garde Progressive need to listen to this, it is definitely an excellent addition to your collection. Besides, you are not out much as far as dollars go since it is only 3 songs, but you will probably want to invest more once you hear it. Excellent job by a very talented band.

 Admonishing The Bishops by THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Admonishing The Bishops
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sadly, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 hasn't put out any new releases since 2001. I have hardly even heard of them. I always thought they were just another alternative rock group. But, I got this EP after hearing that they were an Avant-Prog band, which was a surprise to me in and of itself. I am always looking for new stuff and I always seem to be attracted to music that is original and daring. I have found a lot of great bands that way. And this is one of them.

I have to say that I haven't heard much by them before I played this EP for the first time. There are only 4 songs on here, so I figured I wouldn't be out much if I didn't like them. When the album finished, all I wanted was to hear more. Now I wish this EP was longer than it is, and because of this EP, I will be looking into their music a lot more.

It starts off with the longest track at over 6 minutes, and initially, it starts with a typical guitar strum/riff that sounds Alternative. This lasts for a total of two bars. Suddenly, dissonance comes in and it makes your ears immediately perk up. It only gets better when the vocals start, totally not the norm. The song continues with interchanging instrumental breaks and vocals. it almost sounds like it is going to go into post rock territory, but then it doesn't. There is a great bass riff, then guitars crash in, sounding like they are being tortured, but not to the point of being obnoxious. As it continues, you know you are in different territory and totally atypical. Dissonance and melodic at the same time.

Next up is "Undertaker" which starts out with two guitars totally in sync and totally out of tune with each other. This turns into Primus style chaos as other instruments join in. But the drums sound like something out of the Violent Femmes catalogue. And the voice is incredible when he does the falsetto thing totally out of nowhere. The guitar break is excellent. The chaos ensues. "Million Dollars" is more mellow, and the singing is underwhelming, but that is what makes this track so great. You know, the same way that Velvet Underground was so intriguing. But then out of nowhere, a strung out guitar riff that just doesn't belong, yet it really does. The harmonies also sound like they were half-baked, which is so awesome. It's all kind of funny but serious at the same time.

The last track is "Father". This starts out really strange and out there, the singing is totally off like it's supposed to be. I thought this was just a little over the top in weirdness when I first heard it, but now I really appreciate it. Then there is a mid- tempo standard rhythm going on which makes absolutely no sense with anything else. Before that wears itself out, things slow down a bit and there are some really dissonant and cool harmonies. Then what sounds like a banjo comes out of nowhere.

I know all of this sounds strange, but it is so great. It is considered Noise Rock or Avant Prog. I don't know about the noise part, at least on this EP, but there are definitely some "not-normal" harmonies and "way-out-there" things going on here. Nothing, except for the first few seconds, is normal about this. Yet it is a lot more listenable than you might think. This is one EP and one band that definitely needs to be investigated. A good way to try them out is through an EP, then you are not out much if you don't like it. But, it's that kind of practice that has helped me find some great talent, like this band, hat I want to hear more from. It's a shame they haven't done a lot lately. 4 stars, and it would have probably been 5 stars if it wasn't so short.

 Todos os Olhos by ZÉ, TOM album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 11 ratings

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Todos os Olhos
Tom Zé RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What is it about these Brazilian bands like SECOS & MOLHADOS and this particular album by Tom Ze where they are pretty much all acoustic and simplistic, almost folky yet they have this incredible sense of melody and rhythm that sucks me in like a vacuum. Nylon-stringed guitars that are amazingly well played, such technique along with percussions and Tom's Portuguese vocals which are usually quite laid back but it all works so incredibly well. The word playful gets used a lot with Tom's music and while this is listed under Avant there's little of that to my ears unless the lyrics are way out there which I wouldn't know. Twelve songs over 36 minutes and this was released in 1973 the same year as SECOS & MOLHADOS' debut.

"Complexo De Epico" is the less than 1 1/2 minute intro which had me begging for more until I noticed the album ends with the same song but there it's almost 7 minutes in length. This is very repetitive with vocals and backing vocals along with percussions. So rhythmic and relaxed with those almost spoken vocals. So playful and catchy. "Cademar" has percussions, organ, nylon stringed guitars and reserved vocals for less than a minute. it works! "Todos Os Olhos" is so catchy with those percussions and vocals along with backing vocals. Just boppin' around to this one. Some weird vocals too. Great track!

"Dodo E Zeze" has multi-guitars that are strummed and picked along with vocals. Kind of folky. Multi-vocals before 2 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up. Really good. "Quando Eh Era Sem Ninguem" sounds excellent with that opening guitar as the vocals come in being quite playful along with the sound as backing vocals, strummed guitars and percussion help out. It settles to percussion, laid back guitar and reserved vocals before kicking in again as contrasts continue.

"Brigitte Bradot" has a simple sounding guitar with percussion and spoken vocals. It picks up briefly before 2 minutes then settles right down again with some whistling then more vocals. "Augusta, Angelica E Consolasao" is catchy with percussion, vocals and guitar. It turns fuller with drums, still it's catchy and relaxed as backing vocals come and go. "Betaram Tanta Fumaca" has determined vocals that soon turn into a party mode with drums, guitar and backing vocals.

"O Riso E A Faca" has a guitar melody and more as relaxed vocals join in. Sounds like violin too. "Um Oh E Um Ah" is pretty funny the way the vocals are off-set singing the words in the title. I like this one as guitar and percussion helps out. It ends with the song it opened with that I've already talked about and yes almost 7 minutes still seems too short.

A pretty cool album that can be quite uplifting at times. I don't enjoy it as much as those first two albums from SECOS & MOLHADOS but this is well worth tracking down.

 Deleted Scenes by TRAUN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Deleted Scenes
Traun RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Ex-Estradasphere drummer Dave Murray's TRAUN project only has three EPs that tell this tale:

"The world of Traun is in peril after a flying health spa arrives at the outer rim of their star system. At the helm, a despotic tycoon named Voss ignites a trade war with the neighboring planets to acquire the water he needs to fill his baths. The capitol of Traun? the Fruitless Kingdom?has launched an offensive against Spa 9, but they have not been able to evict the illicit resort, nor regain control of their water supply. At this rate, life on Traun may be on the brink of extinction. But there may be hope brewing from within the sinister relaxation empire. The daughter of Voss?the Black Metal Princess?has been devising an elaborate ruse that will hopefully save the world of Traun, restore balance, and rescue her father from his own destruction."

There are, however, four EPs that were released and the fourth one is titled DELETED SCENES which is exactly what the name says, a bunch of leftover tracks and various different drafts of tracks from the TRAUN trilogy.

The four EPs are to be heard in this order:

The Lilac Moon The Black Metal Princess Escape From Spa 9 DELETED SCENES (bonus tracks)

Musically DELETED SCENES runs the same gamut as the other EPs with frenetic shapeshifting of genres that are classical music one second, jazz the next and maybe even some downtempo or heavy metal thrown in. They not only take the expected genre blending into extreme arenas but they also often incorporate extreme avant-prog avenues with crazy time signature changes as well as sudden start / stop tempo changes. Everything from dynamics, genres, tempos and moods mix it all up and often.

Seriously unless you really adhere to the story on TRAUN MUSIC dot com then this is really just a fourth album because i can't figure out from the music alone that any storyline exists behind it all. It's one of those series where you can just enjoy the music or actually add more intrigue by delving into the actual meanings behind the accompanying sounds. While the other EPs hover around the 20 minute mark, this one actually extends past the 31 minute mark making it the longest of the four. This one is just as good as the others and if you want to check these out, you really need to go for the whole shebang. Very cool stuff obviously catering to the Mr Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Estradasphere and Atomic Ape crowds.

Data cached

RIO/Avant-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1870 (MIL OCHOCIENTOS SETENTA) Mexico
3 MICE Multi-National
5UU'S United States
THE A BAND United Kingdom
A-MUSIK Japan
A.P.A.T.T. United Kingdom
ABSOLUTE ZERO United States
AFENGINN Denmark
AFTER DINNER Japan
AFUCHE United States
AHLEUCHATISTAS United States
AHVAK Israel
AKINETÓN RETARD Chile
AKSAK MABOUL Belgium
ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Finland
ALBOTH! Switzerland
ALEX'S HAND United States
ALFIE RYNER France
ALTERED STATES Japan
AMOEBIC EMSEMBLE United States
ANATROFOBIA Italy
ANDREW MOORE'S CHAMBER WORKS United States
APPENDIX Slovakia
ARANIS Belgium
ARBETE OCH FRITID Sweden
THE ARCHESTRA Belarus
ARKTIS/AIR Austria
ARMON KUILU Finland
ART BEARS United Kingdom
ART FLEURY Italy
ART MOULU France
ART ZOYD France
THE ARTAUD BEATS United Kingdom
ARTERIA Mexico
ATHANOR France
ATOMIC APE United States
AUKTYON Russia
BABLICON United States
BANDA ELÁSTICA Mexico
ARRIGO BARNABÉ Brazil
BARNACLED United States
BARRICADE France
LES BATTERIES France
BBP UNDERGROUND ORCHESTRA Czech Republic
BEGNAGRAD Yugoslavia
BOB BELL Canada
BEN LEVIN GROUP United States
BIG BLOCK 454 United Kingdom
BIG FARM United States
BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC United States
BISE DE BUSE France
IVA BITTOVÁ Czech Republic
BLACK ENGINE Italy
MICHEL BLANC France
BLAST Netherlands
BLITURI Canada
THE BLITZOIDS United States
THE BLUE SHIP United Kingdom
BONE Multi-National
THE BOOK OF KNOTS United States
BOREDOMS Japan
BOSNNIA Argentina
BOX Multi-National
FRANÇOIS BREANT France
MARKO BRECELJ Yugoslavia
BREZNEV FUN CLUB Italy
BRIAN! United States
BROKEN.HEART.COLLECTOR Austria
HASSE BRUNIUSSON Sweden
BUILD United States
BULDOZER Yugoslavia
BZ BZ UEU Italy
CALOMITO Italy
THE CAMBERWELL NOW United Kingdom
CAPILLARY ACTION United States
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART United States
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CARTEL CARNAGE France
CARTOON United States
CASSIBER Germany
CATERPILLARMEN Iceland
CAZUELA DE CÔNDOR Chile
THE CELLAR AND POINT United States
CERBERUS SHOAL United States
CHARMING HOSTESS United States
CHEER-ACCIDENT United States
CHĘNE NOIR France
GUIGOU CHENEVIER France
CHOU PAHROT United Kingdom
CHROMB! France
CICALA-MVTA Japan
THE CLAUDIA QUINTET United States
A CLEAN KITCHEN IS A HAPPY KITCHEN Belgium
CLOUD BECOMES YOUR HAND United States
COBRA United States
JEAN COHEN-SOLAL France
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Multi-National
COMBO FH Czech Republic
COMMUNIO MUSICA Denmark
LINDSAY COOPER United Kingdom
COSA BRAVA United States
CREEDLE United States
CRO MAGNON Belgium
CTHULHU RISE Ukraine
CUCAMONGA Argentina
CULTO SIN NOMBRE Mexico
CURLEW United States
CUTLER AND FRITH United Kingdom
CHRIS CUTLER United Kingdom
RUBEN D'HERS Venezuela
DAIMON ORCHESTRA Japan
PATRICIA DALLIO France
DANISCO (FOR BEAUTY) France
DATE COURSE PENTAGON ROYAL GARDEN Japan
DEADBURGER Italy
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DECIBEL Mexico
DEEP SWEDEN Czech Republic
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DANIEL DENIS Belgium
DEUS NUVEM Brazil
DIE ANARCHISTISCHE ABENDUNTERHALTUNG Belgium
DISCUS Indonesia
DOCTOR NERVE United States
BOB DRAKE United States
TOBY DRIVER United States
THE DRX United States
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DUNAJ Czech Republic
TREVOR DUNN United States
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EARDANCE United States
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EPN TRIO Argentina
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ERTH Costa Rica
ESKALATION Germany
ESKIMO United States
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EX-P Italy
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FAT Canada
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UN FESTÍN SAGITAL Chile
FILTHY HABITS ENSEMBLE Spain
FINNEGANS WAKE Belgium
FIRE! Sweden
THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS United States
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FOTE / THE TRUTH CLUB United Kingdom
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LES FRAGMENTS DE LA NUIT France
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FUKKEDUK Belgium
DIAMANDA GALAS United States
GANNETS United Kingdom
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LES I France
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KILLING TIME Japan
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KOMBINAT M Austria
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KORMORANY Poland
KOROVA MILK BAR France
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DAGMAR KRAUSE Germany
KROKO Finland
KRUZENSHTERN & PAROHOD Israel
KUHA. Finland
KULTUR SHOCK Multi-National
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HARRI KUUSIJÄRVI KOUTUS Finland
L'EFFET DEFEE France
LA 1919 Italy
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LARVAL United States
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MMCIRCLE Canada
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MPXXIV Switzerland
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NI France
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NORMAL LOVE United States
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NOW WE'VE GOT MEMBERS Norway
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OHO United States
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OOIOO Japan
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MIKE PATTON United States
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PERFUME DE MUJER Cuba
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PINIOL France
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THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE Czech Republic
PLOZ Canada
POCHAKAITE MALKO Japan
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POIL France
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NICK PROL AND THE PROLETARIANS United States
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RADIATION10 France
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ALEC K. REDFEARN AND THE EYESORES United States
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REFLECTIONS IN COSMO Norway
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THE SOCIETŔ ANONIMA DECOSTRUZIONISMI ORGANICI Italy
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THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282 United States
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