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5 stars French band VOLAPÜK is a trio formed around the drummer and composer Guigou Chenevier, formerly known from ETRON FOU. They are using instruments such as clarinets, marimba, violoncello and flute to create a music that blends chamber music, Jazz, progressive rock and the bands in the RIO movement. The compositions are complex with lots of improvisations and the musicians are virtuosos. With the addition of accordion many of the tracks sounds as if they could've been taken from a Lars Hollmer album. In fact the track "Voilŕ Pük" are a Hollmer composition written for VOLAPÜK, and listening to it you can hear that it has the unmistakable Lars Hollmer touch to it. This is a really interesting album, and I think that many Lars Hollmer fans will appreciate it. Highly recommended listening!
Report this review (#7641)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is indeed one of the best RIO albums of the new wave, quite possibly one of the best Avant Garde rock albums released on the 21st century (only four years, but lots of albums). Guigou Chenevier has condensed the eclectical spirit of Etron Fou and combined it with the modern feeling of relentless desesperation and the noetic values and proportions RIO is proud to annlunce: nihilist and sterile free-form movements where the content surpasses the transcendence of the form. This is musical Dadaism. The Lars Hollmer creations redefine the context of Volapük and take music from a more rotten view. This is a band who owes its complexity to the power of improvisation.
Report this review (#7642)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This excellent album by French band Volapük led by Etron Fou drummer GUIGOU CHENEVRIER is one of the best and most accessible Avantgarde/RIO albums I've ever listened to. The mixture of world music and odd Avant stuff presented here is just perfectly done. They are using some rather uncommon instruments like the taragot, which is a bit similar to oboe or the African sanza which is composed of a series of flexible tongues of uneven length, made of metal or bamboo, fixed to a wooden plate or trapezoid sound-box.

There are no real highlights on this album which doesn't mean that it is boring but rather because all the tracks are so great and wonderful that it actually defies any description. It's not one of those RIO albums that are full of weirdness, actually the only more crazy one is the last track but nevertheless it does not lack exciting moments at all. Overall it's a very enjoyable and versatile listen with a certain amount of oddity, maybe not necessarily to be recommended to those fellows who love their RIO as crazy as possible but I'd call it an excellent addition to any prog collection and I'd like to advice anyone who is looking for some special uncommon music, not exclusively RIO-fans to check out this album. It's worth for many many enjoyable listens.

Report this review (#39083)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Volapuk returns with a new album, and dissapointment is certainly NOT provided here! These guys have been improving their music so much since their previous album. Unlike the other album (Slang), this one is a great RIO album. In addition, a new members (Takumi Fukushime) has joined the trio, and now it's actually a lovely quartet that plays fine RIO! As far as I know many people consider this genre boring, and I can certainly agree with them about it when it comes to few albums, especially the previous one by Volapuk. However, this album doesn't appear in the list of boring RIO albums because it's actually a great achievement by these people, and they really succeed in providing the RIO fans with good RIO tunes full of strings and other accustic instruments. Moreover, I recommend you listen to this album if you are fond of Univers Zero, Present, Gatto Marte, Cro Magnon, Art Zoyd and so on.
Report this review (#44102)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent release by this RIO/chamber rock group from France. I doscovered this group very recently after gaining interest in bands such as UNIVERS ZERO and I was not dissapointed by what I got. This album is a mix of jazz, chamber rock, and classical music all woven perfectly together to create a great work of progressive music. The highlights of the album would be "View Futur" and "Valse Chinoise" (soo beautiful). The last track, "L'oeuf d'Apük", from where the album gets its name, is a very comical yet sad song with a nice folk tale. It ends with a moral but I could never understand the vocals because it is said very jsut adds an element of mystery to the whole thing. Overall: great release with some apparent influences but mostly inventive. Good for lovers of bands such as ETRON FOU, UNIVERS ZERO, HENRY COW. Highly recommended
Report this review (#116654)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Volapuk ? Polyglot 2010-08-09

Polyglot is an album of some rather exquisite melodies lofted some driving and dynamic rhythms. Des Liens Invisibles is one highlight (only as a matter of personal preference.) If such a crass business thing would apply this is the numero uno hit single off the album.) The moods vary, sometimes in a chord change. The overall feel of the album is dark but tinged with humour but secretive. Volapuk have what I find is a truly European avant-garde style but rooted in a more traditional chamber sound. In away the journeys that American jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane (just to mention a mere three) made to Europe in the 1940s ? 1960s had their influence. This influence manifested itself in the return trip; the similarly melodic family of music in Frank Zappa's Hot Rats album. The European melodies (Peaches En Regalia ? it's there in the title too) are the jazz influenced European tunes as interpreted by the Mother Superior, himself a big name in Europe. The US jazz, blending with European folk traditions informs the RIO scene. Insofar as it never was a scene, more a way of getting contemporary European music to an audience that is likely to give it the time of day. Volapuk's music is very European chamber orchestral, very melodic, only very occasionally dissonant and it is very atmospheric, quite intimate really. It is composed, performed with wit, precision and soul. I have a (heh, RIO ROIO) of a Volapuk performance and this album could be an example of one take performances. In other words this band is as great in concert as well as the studio. It's not rock, there are no rock tunes or instruments. It is well outside of a rock tradition and would find favour in 20th Century modern classical, European folk and possibly jazz although the connection is tenuous at best there. It is some of the most cohesive, and easily accessible music of the prog rock RIO sub genre. It's a lot of fun as well. Essential to the Avant RIO collection, a general progressive rock collection would find a place for it. Modern classical enthusiasts (hey, teachers, don't leave this album alone) should find a place for it in heart and collection. There are no odd ball tracks and the album zips by effortlessly. Inspired tunes, flawless performance and atmospheric production make this album a gem. It's albums of music like this that make exploring beyond the mainstream (art rock) the sort of thing that makes one want to be marooned away from said mainstream ? at least for a bit! . . I know five star ratings get overused by fans so I'm trying to be as grimly objective as possible. I'll round it up to six. Okay, well I would if I could.

Report this review (#293986)
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars It was really good to finally hear this band and this album in particular. Logan has mentioned this record several times so it's about time I took the plunge. I'm very familiar with the great French Rio band ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN, and it's the former drummer for that band who leads VOLAPUK.This band is a trio with the other members playing clarinet, flute and violincello. Guigou the drummer also plays marimba and there is a guest violin player helping out and adding her vocals on one track. I like the bio here that describes the music as abstract yet melodic, catchy but pushing the envelope.

"Vieux Futur" sounds very interesting to start. What are those sounds ? Then bass clarinet, violincello and violin lead as drums beat away. I like the dissonant violin after 3 minutes. "Nusrat" opens with clarinet as a full sound kicks in quickly.Vocals before a minute. Great sound before 2 minutes with the violin and drums standing out. Flute follows. Vocals are back later. "Voila Puk" has a catchy rhythm to it as flute and violin play over top. "Sanza" is different sounding as marimba and taragot lead. "Tante Yo" opens with bass clarinet and violincello. Deep bass sounds are the result. Drums and violin join in. Great sound here. The violin gets a little crazy 2 minutes in. "Entre 2 Zoo" features relaxed horns leading the way. Violin then becomes prominant too.

"Technovo" is more uptempo with lots of intricate sounds. So much going on. "Marimba" is much the same but with marimba standing out surprisingly. I like when it changes around 1 1/2 minutes as the sound gets fuller. "Des Liens Invisibles" is uptempo with violin, drums and bass clarinet leading.The violin gets a little dissonant a minute in. Nice.Then it turns catchy again. "Valse Chinoise" has a clarinet led rhythm. Violin late. "Pablo" is mournful early with the strings and clarinet. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Much better ! "Medication & Yoghurt" opens with marimba and other intricate sounds as violin joins in. "L'oeuf D'apuk" is better as strings lead along with clarinet in this catchy rhythm. Spoken words come in when the music stops. Funny. This continues on and off. It turns insane after 2 minutes. Killer stuff right there. Hilarious too.

A solid 4 stars although I must admit it's going to take a while for me to fully appreciate what's going on here.

Report this review (#300492)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2010 | Review Permalink

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