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Pokerface

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Pokerface Transeo album cover
3.67 | 3 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hypocrites (5:06)
2. Krtek Ve Snu (5:02)
3. Buildings - featuring Mike Lloyd (6:30)
4. Beginnings And Endings (7:18)
5. Quicksand / Concrete - Live (4:17)
6. Like Love - Live (4:36)
7. Miss You - Live (4:14)
8. Really Real Reality - featuring Michael Horvath - Live (3:37)
9. For Those Who Have Fallen - Live (3:56)
10. Spider - featuring Bryan Baker (6:26)
Bonus Tracks
11. Ending - featuring Mikael Karlsson (5:52)
12. Stagger - featuring Bryan Baker (3:16)
13. Red Room First (7:20)
14. Born To Murder The World - featuring Michael Horvath (2:15)
15. Morning Storm (7:16)
16. Nana-Dudeh (Remix) (3:19)

Total Time 80:20

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Stefan Heidevik / synthesizer, programming, glockenspiel, percussion, voices
- Michael Horvath / voices
- Olle Prim / drums
- Mattis Karlsson / guitar
- Per Eriksson / saxophone, clarinet
- Bryan Baker / guitar
- Anna Sahlin / cello
- Karin Svensson Nordberg / violin
- Mike Lloyd / trumpet

Releases information

CD / MP3 Bandcamp / Holk Records (2011)

Thanks to damoxt7942 for the addition
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POKERFACE Transeo ratings distribution


3.67
(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
67%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

POKERFACE Transeo reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Pokerface is a project by Swede Stefan Heidevik which originated in 1996 as an experimental hip-hop outfit. This is the group's second full-length album. Being influenced by everything from film scores to fusion to trip-hop and everything in between, here the music is mostly a mix of IDM and avant-prog. Sort of a cross between Autechre and the latter, more electric Univers Zero. One thing IDM and avant-prog has in common is a predominance of minor key melodies, of which there is lots here. IDM rhythms are mixed with heavy rock/metal style chords along with jazzy sax and trumpet. There is some violin and cello as well. Stefan himself plays synths, percussion and does some of the vocals. Programmed drums are mixed with a real drummer and sometimes it is hard to tell which is which.

This album is half studio/half live with a fair amount of bonus material. The only thing that gives away that the live tracks are indeed live is the audience. One of the goals of this project was the meeting between programmed music and live musicians playing in real time. Sometimes the music here sounds very electronic and non-human, yet other times sounds like an actual band playing. "Hypocrites" is a nice mix of IDM and avant-rock but nothing too crazy or experimental. Without the sax and heavy guitars this might sound only like an IDM track. "Buildings" has a great synth bass line which I just love. The music dies down and you hear spoken samples in places. Features some very jazzy playing on modified trumpet.

"Beginnings And Endings" is one of the more interesting songs with vocals (which here sometimes reminds me of Thom Yorke). One of the longer cuts and it moves through different musical ideas very well. "Miss You" is proabaly the best of the tracks recorded live. Hard to describe but it is very low-key and melodic with complimentary vocals. "Really Real Reality" has narrated vocals that remind me of Robert Calvert on Hawkwind's Space Ritual album. The music is moody and slow moving. The beginning of "For Those Who Have Fallen" has synth chords that remind me of either Autechre or Boards Of Canada. Otherwise it almost sounds like metal. The singing turns almost operatic.

"Spider" has a neat video made for it. The guitar sounds like it's trying to play something that a sequencer would normally do. Very IDM sounding drum programming. The guitar does an avant-jazz style solo. Nice melody on synths and...not sure. Trumpet? Violin? Nice anyway. This is a great recommendation to those who love both IDM and avant-prog. Not for those allergic to programmed drumming, though. Transeo is available on Bandcamp as a 'pay what you want' release. Very good stuff, a mix of different styles but mainly moody electronic rock for the most part. I will give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#803109) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I had this album from the "review our music" forum and I didn't know exactly what to expect, but the RIO/Avant classification was enough to switch on my interest. This is what I have found:

"Hypocrites", the album opener starts with heavy drone percussion which remind me to the industrial metal of the Russian Senmuth, but instead of distortion what follows is a mainly electronic instrumental. Ozric Tentacles is the name which pops in my mind.

"Krtek Ve Snu" has avant elements but the sounds are typically "techno-house". The same for the following track " Buildings" which in some moments reminds me to "Archive". Those tracks are good enough but you have to be familiar with the sounds. I'm used to hate everything is played in a disco and refuse to listen whatever sounds like that, so I admit that I had initially to force myself, but this is NOT disco-house, luckily. "Buildings" has an intro that I dislike, but quickly the hypnotic repetitive bass line played by a very nice sound is stopped by some speech and followed by an electronic performance with some jazz elements that I find extremely good. The heavyness of the percussion still remind me to Senmuth.

"Beginning and Ending" make clear to me why this project is in the Avant section of PA. This is the first song with lyrics and alternates a clean whispered singing on a very melodic line with dissonances and reverberations putting my mind an a dreamlike state. going to the last part of the track, when the percussion are over, is dark spacey, then they are back for the last weird minute. The first real highlight of the album.

"Quicksand/Concrete" seems to be a live medley of two songs. Quicksand is again close to Ozric Tentacles. The good is that we have here a real drumset and a drummer who makes excellent things. The chill-out mood of this track is enhanced by the sax. Very jazzy.

"Like Love" is another live performance. A characteristic of the band's sound seems to be clear: A fusion of dissonances and melodic lines.

On "Miss You" I think there are also a violin and a cello. The pitch changes remind again to Senmuth, but they are less randomic and discordant. This track has lyrics, too. The vocals have a bit of Canterbury. Nice track.

"Really Real Reality" starts with techno psychedelic sounds followed by a weird speech. Weird in a musical sense. I haven't taken care of the lyrics, honestly. This track is as dark as some Art Zoyd.

"For Those Who Have Fallen" is opened by a keyboard layer with light drums and vocals. This is an eclectic song. which has made me think to a lot of artists for single elements. I could write down a list including even Kayo Dot. The high pitched operatic vocals are remarkable.

"Spider" gives the idea. It's a techno track suitable also for a rave party, but I imagine a jumping spider in a grotesque situation. Good guitar here. A sort of free-jazz improvisation on the likes of .... who knows? Stormy Six? Univers Zero? Another highlight track.

"Ending" starts with a heavy distorted sound, another thing that reminds to Senmuth, but when it stops we are in a dreamlike psychedelic world that I see close to planet Gong.

"Stagger" remains in the same area. Dissonances with heavy electronics, bass and sax. There's also violin while the bass repeats the same few notes seamlessly. Great clean jazz guitar.

"Red Room First" is another good reason to put this band into Avant. This noisy dark track is at the level of the best Art Zoyd, just a bit more noisy. The bells throughout the track enhance the dreamy experience. It's dark but not a nightmare. It has the weirdness of a dream.

"Born To Murder" Is as dark as its title. The speech is in Swedish and it's a "light noise" electronic track. I find similarities with some of Christian Kolf's side projects.

"Morning Storm" start totally noisy: a keyboard chord, but it may also be a sequence, overlapped by various rhythmic noises for an effect that's still oniric. After about 3 minutes the drones stop and there are only noises of various (electronic) kinds. I surprise myself thinking what could have been if Syd Barrett had instruments of this kind actually available for him. This is a very excellent track for those who like this kind of experimental music. The sounds of bells similar to the Balinese gamelan mixed with all the electronics sound like some old sci-fi movies like the Forbidden Planet's soundtrack, but they have also a grotesque feeling.

Finally, "Nana-dudeh" is a synth joke which starts smoothly and grows slowly to the chaos, like in the early Battiato's collages of sounds. It's like the band has walked a pathway from House to Avant starting from the initial techno to the last absolutely psychedelic and noisy tracks. I wonder if there's a timely sequence in the tracklist.

For who loves the genre and is not disturbed by sounds typical of the house music. I think it deserves the fourth star even if "any prog rock music collection" is a range too wide. Excellent production, as for any electronic album should be and the capacity of putting and keeping the listener to a certain level of attention are the bigger merits of this album.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#817997) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 10, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Welcome to the abyss of bleak soundscapes.

Pokerface is an avant prog jazz fusion exploration, of instrumentals led by wild percussion and some soaring sax, swathes of keyboards and distorted guitar embellishments, along with vocals at times. Stefan Heidevik is at the helm on synthesizer, programming, glockenspiel, percussion, voices, and is joined by session musos Olle Prim on drums, Mattis Karlsson on guitar, Per Eriksson on saxophone, clarinet, Bryan Baker on guitar, Anna Sahlin on cello, Karin Svensson Nordberg on violin, and Mike Lloyd on trumpet, with some guest vocalists. The album begins with a number of instrumentals that flash by quite fast, with a strong jazzy serrated edge and some avant textures thrown in that are dissonant on the ear, especially with the irregular percussive rhythms;Prim is a master on drums in the same territory as Christian Vander's style. The first outstanding track is 'Beginnings and Endings' that is a stunning dissonant odd blend of fusion and weird percussion, with a haunting keyboard melody, and many time sig changes. The avant prog approach is more prominent and made me take notice after the loud jazzy explorations previous.

Prim's percussion on 'Quicksand/ Concrete' is sporadic and blasts off before the tune settles into a chiming sequenced melody, sounding a lot like Kraftwerk's 'Home Computer', a reference that was pleasing to my ear. Eriksson's sax on this is fabulous, exploring an improvised approach, and layered nicely over all the percussion and keyboard foundation. It is a live track and for me perhaps the band sounds better unconfined to studio trickery. I like the way the band take off and just go for it both barrels blazing, and not adhering to musical barriers that stifle creativity. The vibe is reminiscent of the most exploratory moods of King Crimson in these passages. 'Like Love' is also live and again a standout track as the band move from a distorted guitar, to fading atmospheric drones and odd metered drum rhythms. The melody on keys locks in as a very disconcerting sound wails over. This is quite a dark sound, not like love one might say, they are at polar opposites, though the band seem to be concerned with creating a mood or feelings rather than a coherent story. Without vocals it is left to the listener to ascertain what they can glean out of the music.

An assemble of live tracks follow with 'Miss You' and an industrial NIN percussive figure cranks, as sustained key pads spread a layer for spacey guitar glissando to improvise over. In some ways this has a space rock vibe, especially the opening section. The rhythms are wonderful, like Gary Numan's "Dead Son Rising" album. The mechanised metronomics are joined this time by some vocals, that really give this a new atmosphere. The echo on the vox is spacey and the feel is still downbeat and melancholy as the lyrics portray loss and emptiness.

More industrial percussion follows on the live 'Really Real Reality', like a mechanised factory, and the vocals sound like Arthur Brown's 'Great Spontaneous Apple Creation'. The spoken vocals augment the bizarreness inherent in the dissonant musical landscape. This even sounds as weird as Zappa in his most outrageous mood. I liked the way this jumps out as such a different approach on this album.

Next up is the live 'For Those Who Have Fallen', and it has a sadness with tortured vocals wailing over a very ambient keyboard. Distorted guitars crash over with a cool riff that locks in well. The vox again have a spacey quality, very downbeat but haunting and resonating with those who know what it is like to be depressed or feel like their world is falling apart. Music can convey the most powerful of desolate emotions and it doesn't get too much bleaker than this.

'Spider', an appropriate title, has a trip hop techno sequenced rhythm and some sporadic melodies thrown like curveballs bouncing off the chunky guitar riffs. Eventually a lead guitar solos intertwining like a spider spinning a web within odd time sigs. It feels like two different songs are playing as the lead solo spirals wildly in a web of chaos. It is some of the best guitar on this album and is completely improvisationary, building nicely into spacey shades. The keyboard retro synth sounds are akin to the 80s, yet the sound is so disjointed and off kilter that it is a definite modern avant sound.

'Ending' is not a song I recommend as it is caterwauling over a dark bassline, and then moves into guitar with weird notes played. Too disturbing for me, and not enough musicianship to appease my ears. However it is followed by a squelching saxophone improv on 'Stagger', and this is more appealing, especially the jazz fusion elements, though again it has a sinister atmosphere, something like the music played by The Residents, though I like their sound. The weird sonic transmissions are very disconcerting, and this again is one of the darker instrumentals.

This sort of music is perhaps best heard in short spurts as ideas can become stale after a few minutes, but the next few tracks clock to over 7 minutes, such as 'Red Room First', a very creepy screechy sonic effect that is more Krautrock than others I have heard on the album. It has the sonic high pitched violence of Univers Zero, and the grinding buildup of Can or Faust. The piece is devoid of any rhythm and is the type of noise avant heard on extreme noise albums; sounding like the in between feedback when searching for a radio station. I am no fan of the noise genre, and this drones on for too long, but as this is a one off it holds interest, and at least has variation. It would make an appropriate soundtrack to a chilling movie such as "The Ring".

It is followed by the welcome relief of rhythms, some Swedish spoken vocals, a melody, and yet a consistent RIO approach. 'Born to Murder the World' is short, but 'Morning Storm' runs for over 7 minutes. It is a high frequency sound that explodes out of the speakers and then is joined by off kilter mechanised percussion. This is way out of the box, and somehow captivates with the irregularity of the tempo, and the constant sustained pads. To end, 'Nanah Dudeh' is a quirky thing with electronic explorations improvised over high pitched feedback loops, or some other electro sound. Again this is in the extreme avant territory, and sounds more like noise

This is an intense album with daring, inventiveness and will appeal to RIO/ avant prog listeners. It is too extreme for those who like to hear a song or melody to brighten their day as there is none on offer here. The experience is rather downbeat and bleak. The Residents meets Toby Driver in some sections, and the Musique Concrete, Kraut art Jazz fusion influences are evident. It tends to get more bold and bizarre towards the end of the album, though has moments of headache inducing sonic feedback. It feels like going on a journey into the abyss and by the end we are in the abyss and can't escape. The bonus tracks may test many listeners patience. It is disturbing music and I would say not for everyone, stretching the boundaries beyond a comfortable level of resonance. I rarely listen to music like this myself, but I still like to have my ears opened now and then to expose myself to the other alternative types of music that are being created.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#851775) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2012

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