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From, the ultimate progressive rock music website Audio Diplomacy album cover
3.59 | 68 ratings | 10 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD (74:56)
1. Intro (6:11)
2. From Fromuz (10:12)
3. Wax Inhabitants Town (12:36)
4. Gameplay Imitation (8:18)
5. Spare Wheel (8:37)
6. Familiarization Results (7:33)
7. Harry Heller Theater (12:13)
8. Babylon Dreams (9:16)

DVD (87:29)
1. Intro (6:11)
2. From Fromuz (10:17)
3. Wax Inhabitants Town (12:47)
4. Gameplay Imitation (8:28)
5. Remark #12 (2:29)
6. Spare Wheel (8:38)
7. Dual Ad Libitum (8:29)
8. Familiarization Results (7:34)
9. Harry Heller Theater (12:27)
10. Babylon Dreams (10:09)

This is a CD/DVD set recorded live in April 2005 however the quality is so good it sounds like a studio recording. The CD audio is the same as the DVD performance.

Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Mara-Novik / bass
- Vitaly Popeloff / guitars
- Albert Khalmurzayev / keyboards
- Vladimir Badirov / drums & percussion

Releases information

CD+DVD (2007)

The DVD contained here was originally recorded as a promo copy under the title of 'Playing The Imitation' released in 2005.

All tracks from CD are available for free streaming on the band's website:

Thanks to Garion81 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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FROM.UZ Audio Diplomacy ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FROM.UZ Audio Diplomacy reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Audio Diplomacy is the initial release from the instrumental quartet from Uzbekistan. The album is from a live performance in 2005 although it really doesn't feel that way. There is no crowd cheering, stage banter or any other live trappings. The recording sounds amazingly clean as well. Actually the performance was recorded as a DVD with the CD being gleaned from that. The video is state of the art and the performance is very well staged. It looks and sounds great and on top of that another great package design by Ken Westphal. OK Enough said for the technical aspects of the CD.

The set starts out with the "Intro" that once you pass the first 2 minutes of electronics, sound effects, including record scratching, turns into a pretty great number. Building from a rhythm platform to more like something you might here on A Trick of the Tail with use of strings to a blistering synth solo to a spacey section with the sound of a church organ that moves into the second number "Fromuz". This piece is a kind of the signature statement the band is making about itself. The song is very fusion like in the beginning moving into a great rock passage and guitar solo by Vitaly Popeloff that I can only describe as Jeff Beck on steroids. There are some really heavy chords in parts that remind me of metal and just when you think they are going to stay in style they move into some bebop jazz with a great piano solo from Albert Khalmurzayev moving back to the original theme to end the song.

The other tracks follow suit. The music never stagnates moving from one theme and style and time signature to another effortlessly and skillfully. There is a lot in this music and it would take way to long to try describing all its richness in words. Many layers of great sounds and pastoral passages as well as steel crunches and blistering solos supplying some of the best and most original instrumental prog I have heard in along time.

I think fans of Focus and other Symphonic bands would like this but also fans of fusion like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever. All I can say is WOW. If this is the beginning of this group I can't wait to hear more. 4.5 solid stars.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Live instrumental rock music from Uzbekistan, not something you come across every day.

The four guys in the band are excellent musicians, and enjoy experimenting with sounds and styles. Here the music flows from bluesrock and jazz to ambient moods, symphonic prog and some metal bits, with what sounds like improvisational playing and distinctly fusion-tinged themes thrown in now and then.

All of it flawlessly performed, all of it flowing smoothly from one theme to the next; and with the important themes being revisited to create a wholeness to each individual song.

Not music for everybody; but orgasmic music for fans of good technical playing in an ecclectic and experimental musical framework.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Audio Diplomacy is an interesting debut for an album: a live recording that sounds sharp and deep enough to be a studio recording, released in the same package as the DVD of the exact same music.

Like the artist description north of here says, the band is focused on creativity and playing what is interesting to them. The music is fairly thick and complex, but once you get into the meat of it, that creativity shines through rather impressively. They released this live album, showcasing their diverse musical talents and interests. In regards to the quality of the recording, it's something like a Frank Zappa live album, where there is no crowd noise, there are no band goofs, the sound quality is excellent, and the music is still expertly contrived wickedry. In fact, if it weren't for the accompanying DVD presentation of the album, It would in truth be quite difficult to pinpoint as an actual live release. In regards to the music, then: this is not Liquid Tension Experiment or Return to Forever or any other band like that. What they lack in relative playing chops (though in truth, they lack very little in terms of speed, technicality, or other forms of virtuosity), they make up with a terrific sense of dynamism. The keyboards are all over the place, sometimes playing the lead lines, sometimes playing the sonic backdrop. The guitars are often at the front, but not always, and the band knows how to tastefully include some crazy playing among the melodic and twisting sounds. The bass is just perfect in the mix, giving it a great bit of punch, often with some heavy funk slapping. The drums are not very flashy most of the time, but they fit the music quite splendidly.

The first track, Intro, is an introductory little collection of sound samples for the first part and then an actual song for the remainder, beginning to show the collective humor and creativity of the band. The first actual song is From Fromuz--a track bordering on metal more than straight fusion, though both are present in full force. Most of this song is centered on the guitar, especially a particularly long solo that last for around half the track while the music shifts and changes beneath it. A little over halfway through, the guitar backs off and gives the keyboards a chance to lead for a while. Near the end the band combines together once more to compose a powerful finale. Wax Inhabitants Town begins with what sounds like some atmospheric keyboards but which the DVD reveals to be heavily toyed-with guitars. The full band comes together at several points to play a very memorable main riff, interspersed with a large amount of soloing, most of it on some effected and jazzy guitars. Strong bass drives Gameplay Imitation, another mellowish track like its predecessor. That is, until some harmonized guitars, tribal sorts of drums, and piano hits turn the song into a more fast paced fusion frenzy.

Spare Wheel is probably the most consistently upbeat and rock-oriented song on the album. Mostly guitar driven, this song is a classic and fun one--with cowbell. Next, Familiarization Results enters with a strong metal presence like on From Fromuz. Again, very guitar-oriented and built around a Liquid Tension sort of riff, this song moves through a few phases of full-band instrumentation, not really dissolving into any solos or jam sessions at any time throughout the song, though there is a period of some strange sampling guitar. Some heavy percussive pianos then turn the song on its head and some odd video samples buzz around the band. Harry Heller Theater begins with some synthesized strings, turning to percussive metal fusion in short order. A short guitar jam walks the song up to a slap-bass riff and some unified music. A little over five minutes in, the song jumps into full gear and the piano/guitar unison segues the song into a different riff overlaid by the piano. Soon, there is another strange sound-effect solo spot, and then the band pulls together once more to wrap it up. Babylon Dreams is a cheerful closer, with a sort of nonstandard vibe to its melody, sounding at some points like an old Egyptian sort of tune and at others like some sort of ragtime piece. The band then closes the album with one of those long jams like The Who is famous for.

In short, I'd say that if you are a fan of instrumental music at all, or are even interested in complex compositions, this is a wonderful band to check out. Their first studio release, however, 2008's Overlook, is stronger on the whole, less oriented on solos and more on band structure, and overall more thoroughly complete. Nevertheless, Audio Diplomacy is a solid release from Fromuz, and certainly worth checking out if you enjoy any of their other releases.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...

To listen to a prog band coming from Uzbekistan is not really a common situation.FROMUZ were found in the capital of Uzbekistan,Tashkent in 2004 by guitarist Vitaly Popellof and bassist Andrew Mara Novik,joined by ex-X Religion keyboardist Albert Khalmurzaev and drummer Vladimir Badirov,known by his ''Vladimir Badirov Project''.Surprisingly the first release of the band was the 2005 DVD ''Playing the imitation'' when the band called themselves ''The Fromuz'',meaning ''from Uzbekistan''.Signed by 10T Records they shortened their name to FROMUZ and release a live recording in 2007,entitled ''Audio diplomacy'',supported a DVD version of the same performance at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan in 2005 before no more than 300 people.

For fans of complex instrumental rock this is absolutely a must-have.''Audio diplomacy'' is filled with tons of twists,breaks and time signatures.The four musicians work very well together,leaving space to each other for mind-blowing virtuosic solos,but they collaborate excellent as well at the furious grooves and the complex interplays.The overall sound falls into the progressive/fusion category in the vein of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT,7 FOR 4 or DEREK SHERINIAN,that means a rather heavy,often metal-like style of playing wrapped under a virtuosic performance,close at times to jazz/fusion music.Unfortunately 75 minutes of really complex music are too much,so FROMUZ made something about it.Among all these complicated themes there are some catchy grooves,as well as relaxed passages with an almost spacey atmosphere or even a modern version of some ethnic tunes fronted by keyboards,so things work better this way.

Regarding the DVD edition (and considering its very good quality indeed),this one features two more tracks (in the same vein) than the CD tracklist and personally I find it to works better,for no other reason than this kind of music is better to be picturized compared to a simple listening.

No doubt these guys are masters of their instruments and ''Audio diplomacy'' stands well next to the former legends of this kind of progressive music.Recommended to fans of rich and complicated instrumental music with a heavier,than usual, edge.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Now that's what I call eastern jazz fusion. I first get to know this band by prog radio Delicious Agony (thanks guys). Psychedelia mix of these things with something that looks like improvisation & also jamming session results in strangely good music. From modern point of view, really good one. Evolution, you know, you can't stop it. For example Wax Inhabitants Town, third track, tries a little bit different approach. Still doing jazz business, but coming from space rock point of view. It pleases, as it brings new elements, when these genres are combined.

Actually, few my classmates are from Uzbekistan, even I don't talk with them much (nobody does, but they stick together). And see, Familiarization Results is even some kind of symphonic prog, same as next track. I suppose they don't know this band, as they look like pop-listeners (you also can't expect everyone from Czech Republic to listen good old prog music like Blue Effect, or Progres). But still, I'm sad. One should know music of his country, especially when it's one of these small countries (my without doubt is small, just 10.000.000 people - and how many prog listeners I wonder, 10.000 ?)

5(-) and shot me if you please, I'll stick with this "better-than-other-album" rating.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heavy fusion band from Uzbekistan - not very usual, isn't it? But don't you expect too much exotic Central Asian influences there. Band is playing technical heavy fusion, influenced by Planet X or LTE. But not at the same level of virtuosity.

Sound is well balanced, guitar solos are competent playing in metal or jazz fusion key, drummer is good in energetic passages and jazzy breaks as well. No problems with keyboards and bass. Some songs have melodic parts, all music is complex enough and professionally recorded.

The problem for me, there is not soul in this sound. Cold math rock'n'fusion? Few Eastern touches are far not enough just to input soul or give own face to this very professional music.

Some good musicianship is there mixed with overpowered sound and lack of musical value.Not a bad album, should be interesting for lovers of instrumental rock.

Almost 3.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. This is FROMUZ's debut released in 2007 and it's actually a live album although you'd never know that from listening to it. I have their first studio album called "Overlook" which came out the following year and to my ears it's a step up from this one although "Audio Diplomacy" is excellent as well.

"Intro" opens with some interesting almost mechanical sounds that go on until the guitar, bass and drums kick in after 2 1/2 minutes. Keyboards follow. A spacey calm ends it. "From Fromuz" has a catchy beat then it settles down with soaring guitar after 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar and drums put on a show after 3 minutes. Great sound after 6 1/2 minutes except for the baby samples. It turns jazzy with bass and drums then kicks back in after 9 minutes. "Wax Inhabitants Town" is spacey to start then the guitar starts to make some noise before 2 1/2 minutes. It changes before 4 minutes as a beat comes in and spacey synths. It turns heavy a minute later but not for long, although it will come and go.

"Gameplay Imitation" opens with guitar, heavy drums and chunky bass. It settles 4 1/2 minutes in then picks back up. "Spare Wheel" is eventually led by a dance-like beat with synths. Catchy stuff. Blistering guitar before 5 minutes. "Familiarization Results" is heavy from the get go until it settles with bass 3 1/2 minutes in. It does turn heavy again before 5 minutes. "Harry Heller Theater" opens with string- like sounds then the heaviness takes over after a minute.The guitar soars a minute later. Incredible section as the heaviness continues.The guitar is uplifting 7 1/2 minutes in as well. Synths around 9 minutes as the heaviness continues. Samples follow then more heaviness on this my favourite track. "Babylon Dreams" opens with synths and heaviness. Synths only 3 minutes in but not for long. A guitar solo follows then a drum show 4 1/2 minutes in. Bubbling synths 6 minutes in then piano followed by more heaviness.

If I hadn't heard the studio album first I might have given this 4 stars because it is very good but I can't pull the trigger at this time.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Having (legally) downloaded the audio tracks, I don't know anything of the DVD. Debuting with a live album is quite unusual. This means that FROMUZ are very confident in their live high audio quality.

The album starts with electronic sounds that after a couple of minutes are muted into a jazzy piece with odd signatures, dark ambient and a flavour of Canterbury. In the middle there's a bit of distorted guitar, that's what makes me think to an "eclectic" mare than to a JR/F band. However "Intro" is a great opener. Its merit is to contain even if in a disordered manner, most of the elements that are typical of the band's sound, from electronic to rock passing through jazz.

"From Fromuz" is a jazz-rock instrumental, at least for the first minutes, before a guitar solo adds a touch of blues. Then guitar and drums remain alone for a very jazz moment. A great number from a technical point of view. The guitar solo grows in a solo that seems coming from the 70s rock. It's amazing how so many different things can be included in a single track without giving the impression of being a patchwork. Bass and piano play another jazz number at minute 7. The jazz side of FROMUZ is fantastic. The guitar interrupts the dialog to return to the main theme and the song goes to its end.

"Wax Inhabitants Town" has an electronic opening that reminds to Vangelis, specially when the melody is driven by the high pitched sound of the keyboard. When the guitar starts the mediterranean mood disappeares and we are back to electronic prog. The drums are electronic, too. At minute 5 it becomes darker with the distorted guitar and the regular drums, but it's just a passage which connects to another slow moment. I feel the Canterbury element present also in this track at least until minute 8. At this point another rock passage leads into another "movement". This is the first time in which the music has a bit of "Middle East" flavour. Far from being ethnic, anyway. The coda is rock. If we don't consider the first 5 minutes we can say that the main recurring theme is the "dark rock connection".

"Gameplay Imitation" is one of the highlights. I really like the sounds used and the rhythmic parts. As the opener, it as many different parts which are connected by "sliding transitions". I mean that there are no holes in the music's continuity. This is not an easy track. It requires the listener's attention, and this is what I like in prog.

"Spare Wheel" is a strange track. The keyboard's "whistle" seems taken by a 70s B-movie, but it's accompanied by a heavy instrumentation. I have in mind the Ryo Okumoto's solo albums. They are on similar ambients. How can I describe it? Eclectic fusion maybe? Spacey sounds and a great guitar work for the second heavier part of the track.

"Familiarization Results" is another example of "heavy jazz". The start is heavy and uptime, then in the middle the tempo slows down, I'm not sure but I think it's 5/4, some stops and go with drums and the heavy part restarts. We can now here vocal effects. I can't understand either a single word but it's part of the track. It comes at the right time in the right way. The coda is a crescendo of heaviness.

Violins are the opener of "Harry Heller Theater". A sort of string quartet that leaves to scene to drum and heavy guitar. If until now what I have heard was reminding me to the late Soft Machine, this track is between Yes and King Crimson (those with Lake). Fantastic guitar and a soft touch of neo-prog, maybe. At least in the less rhythmic parts. I want to underline the fact that mentioning other famous bands is only to try giving an idea of the kind of music. FROMUZ is an original band with its own sound. The fusion between jazz and heavy rock is a distinctive and original tract of the band.

The closer "Babylon Dreams" is a little bit heavier. Here I can't identify a specific band to compare them. For the kind of composition and the musical passages the closer is the Finnish Pekka Pohjola, with a particular reference to his Mathematical Air Display. The Harpsichord interlude is something that can make think to Pekka and his band Wigwam. A short guitar interlude and a short drum solo are there to break the rhythm that suddenly reprises and later gives room to a speacey section of keyboard and drums, very similar to what's done in the "Intro", like closing a circle, followed by a powerful guitar solo to the conclusion.

In brief, this is a very good album full of good music. One that requires attention, but non too much. What is missed is the "li ve ambient". I know that it's a live only because it's written on PA, but there is no public noise or applauses, like it has been recorded in a club, but the sound is too powerful for a club. It sounds like a studio album, effectively.

I'm currently rating it with 4 stars, only because before giving 5 stars to an album I need more listens. In case I'll update this review later. For me it's currently an excellent addition.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Some bands just forsake all that mysterious nebulous nonsense and simply throw it all out there in their band name. It doesn't get any clearer provided you're aware of top level domain abbreviations for nations of the world. And so it should be obvious that the band FROMUZ which started out as FROM.UZ is from Uzbekistan! From the capital city of Tashkent to be more accurate and this quartet has become one of Central Asia's most successful prog acts having not only dazzled the prog fans from the surrounding "Stan" nations but has been a significant player in the Russian prog scene as well as the rest of the world.

FROM.UZ was formed in 2004 by Andrew Mara-Novik (bass), Vitaly Popeloff (guitars), Albert Khalmurzayev (keyboards) and Vladimir Badirov (drums) whose fascination with classic prog acts such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull as well as classic rock, jazz and classical music, helped them decide to form their own band where they began to play live and honed their chops. These guys were serious about their prog and in no time learned how to throw all their influences into a blender and create their own sound. Having gained enough confidence in the 2005 concert that took place in the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan the band participated in several similar events and quickly caught the attention of the entire region.

By 2006 the band had already caught the attention of 10T Records who signed them up and instead of recording a studio album, the band decided to release its debut as a live concert at the same Youth Theatre. In February 2007 the album AUDIO DIPLOMACY was released as a combo pack that included a CD and an accompanying DVD. Both contain the exact same audio only one has visuals and one does not! The band got it right the first time around with a masterful display of prog chops and creative delivery and although this is a live recording, it's impossible to determine as such since there are no audience sounds and the production is extremely professionally recorded not to mention these guys really know how to craft extended proggy jams that are just bursting with tons of creative mojo flowing from every jittery time signature change. The members occasionally exhibit extraordinary virtuosity in soloing.

Despite the same tracks on both CD and DVD, the DVD is about 12 minutes longer. The CD itself clocks in around the 75 minute mark and although i usually dislike lengthy sprawling prog albums that rely on jamming and improv for its modus operendi, i have to say that i do not get bored with AUDIO DIPLOMACY because nothing and i mean nothing outstays its welcome. In general the tracks provide nice proggy hooks, you know the kind that offer distinct catchy hooks but then progified by adding an ever changing rotisserie of time signature shifts, tempo changes, variations in dynamics and reprises of key elements that keep things from drifting into the great musical void. This is by no means an easy listening experience as you must be able to latch on to the overarching framing of the album but it's also rather loosy-goosy in how things unfold. The music can totally rock out or drift into placid moments of progressive electronica.

The track "Intro" which is over six minutes long starts things off with a series of electronic antics and clever creative interpolations before the guitar oriented prog kicks off the main sounds of the album. Hovering somewhere between Pink Floyd inspired space rock and heavier King Crimson prog of the "Red" era, FROM.UZ also incorporates jazzy segments, funk bass grooves, wild and unhinged electronic outbursts that can be startling as well as elements of classical music moments. There are also moments such as in the middle of "From FROMUZ" where the band just get really weird and delves into extremely experimental motifs as well as pure jazz bop. This is a band i've heard about for years but never explored but upon experiencing this amazingly well performed live debut i am extremely impressed with the band's ability to play at this level in a live setting so the studio albums must be spectacular! Highly recommended for those who love highly complex prog that changes things up often without resorting to extreme genre shifts in the vein of Mr Bungle or Estradasphere.

Latest members reviews

5 stars STUNNING DEBUT! If Uzbekistan has more musicians and bands like this, please... bring them on! I was nicely surprised when saw this band live in March this year on the Baja Prog festival. Most of the crowd was expecting to see the big names like Focus, Tony Levin, Unives Zero and others, but w ... (read more)

Report this review (#127513) | Posted by FranMuzak | Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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