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FOREVER EINSTEIN

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Forever Einstein biography
This three piece band hails from Connecticut, USA. The founder of the band is Charles O'Meara (aka Chuck W. Vrtacek) who plays the guitar and other stringed instruments and is the composer. He proclaims himself "World's Only 9 Fingered Progressive Rock Guitarist with a Mensa Membership". He lost the first third of his left index finger, but this does not prevent him from his guitar and other instruments playing. With his stubborn attitude he prevailed and continued with his several musical projects. When asked about his influences he rules out the commonly referred to Robert Fripp. He points out to his " playing Irish music on the mandolin at age 16 and learning to quick pick all those jigs and reels taught me to play fast, staccato arpeggios ". And then he points out at numerous guitarists who are are his influences " Kenny Burrell, the Ventures, Jimi Hendrix, Duane Eddy, Joe Pass, Jimmy Raney, "the guy from Kyuss," Randy California, Richard Thompson, "all the blues guys," Jeff Beck, Otis Rush, Frank Zappa, Larry Carlton, John Schofield and Arlen "Wing Ding" McGee ". O'Meara works as a psychiatric nurse for a large university medical centre on the east coast.

John Roulat is responsible for the bands drums and percussions. He also worked with Nick Didkovsky (of Dr. Nerve and who produced Opportunity Crosses The Bridge) along with Hugh Hopper. In the different albums of theirs he uses many "toys" as he calls them to broaden the bands sound. This approach has been temporarily given a break for the album Racket Science. The third man is Kevin Gerety who is in charge of acoustic & electric fretless bass. He has replaced the band's previous bassist Jack Vees starting on their Racket Science album. His coming into the band is a complex story you can read about in their website. He says that he like the bands approach to composition since every instrument is given its own role and has its own voice. He says this about the music which should help you understand more about the band's approach to composition: "The bass and drums are not merely a rhythm section that supports the melodic instruments, sometimes they are the melodic instruments. Chuck's compositions allow each instrument a certain amount of freedom and improvisation, which appealed to me, coming from a jazz background. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he wrote many of his bass parts with the fretless in mind."

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Forever Einstein official website

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FOREVER EINSTEIN Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy FOREVER EINSTEIN Music


Racket ScienceRacket Science
Cuneiform 2005
Audio CD$6.94
$2.49 (used)
Opportunity Crosses the BridgeOpportunity Crosses the Bridge
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$4.85
$3.44 (used)
Down With GravityDown With Gravity
Cuneiform 2000
Audio CD$11.60
$2.57 (used)
Artificial HorizonArtificial Horizon
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$16.44
$4.98 (used)
One Thing After AnotherOne Thing After Another
Cuneiform 1998
Audio CD$24.99
$9.99 (used)
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FOREVER EINSTEIN discography


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FOREVER EINSTEIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.34 | 7 ratings
Artificial Horizon
1990
3.53 | 5 ratings
Opportunity Crosses The Bridge
1992
3.44 | 6 ratings
One Thing After Another
1998
2.56 | 5 ratings
Down With Gravity
2000
4.00 | 9 ratings
Racket Science
2005

FOREVER EINSTEIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FOREVER EINSTEIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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FOREVER EINSTEIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FOREVER EINSTEIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Racket Science by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 9 ratings

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Racket Science
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars This album, Forever Einstein's fifth, has their third bass player, Kevin Gerety, who replaced Jack Vees, who replaced Marc Sichel. While Gerety's playing is similar to the previous bassists (probably because Charles O'Meara, who has now dropped the C.W. Vrtacek alias, wrote all the bass lines anyway), he adds an acoustic bass to the mix (I like acoustic bass). O'Meara himself has moved almost entirely to electric guitar, instead of the amplified acoustic and electric sitar used on previous albums (although both can still be heard here). This unfortunately gives him a more conventional sound than on earlier albums.

The songs themselves are more developed than those on the first two FE albums (which I am more familiar with than the third and fourth), and sound more like traditional prog than quirky ideas stretched into song length. And the songs are generally longer. And so are the song titles, always another bit of entertainment from FE.

So there is a tradeoff from the early albums. Better songwriting, but not as interesting guitar tones. But it's still a great album.

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 Opportunity Crosses The Bridge by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.53 | 5 ratings

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Opportunity Crosses The Bridge
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Say what you want about Forever Einstein, but no one can dispute that they are the kings of the song title. Granted, when writing instrumentals, you can name the song whatever you like, but some of FE's titles are just amazing. Who can compete with Everybody Here Is Broke So Stop Complaining, OK?, My Friends Made Fun Of My Pants, This Is America, Why Should I Have To Mow My Own Lawn? and the ever popular Hercules Pushes Giant Goats Over The Cliff And Watches As They Fall Into The Canyon Below?

The music here is in exactly the same vein as their debut CD, Artificial Horizons. Most of the songs are short compositions, based around the amplified and sometimes effects laden acoustic guitar of C.W. Vrtacek (Charles O'Meara). The songs, like on the first album, sound like a stripped down version of Discipline-era King Crimson, but with a more RIO thought process behind the writing.

Like the first album, this is a very nice listening album.

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 Artificial Horizon by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Artificial Horizon
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Take one part Discipline era King Crimson. Subtract one guitar and most electronics, add one part Doctor Nerve and one part The Residents. Shake well, and your results? Forever Einstein!

I first saw this band when they opened for the aforementioned Doctor Nerve at a Cuneiforms Records tour. I was immediately taken by the group's deceptively simple compositions masking much more complex ideas.

Guitarist Chuck Vrtacek (Charles O'Meara) plays acoustic guitar through a few effects, and manages to come up with an interesting array of sounds. From basic acoustic guitar to fuzzed out simulated electric (on a quirky but cool cover of Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression), Vrtacek plays seemingly simply, but actually somewhat complex tapestries.

As I mentioned above, the song structures remind me quite a bit of Discipline, while the chords and tones often evoke early Dr. Nerve. And the sparseness with intermittent ferocity brings to mind The Residents. (BTW, if you can find Vrtacek's Residents parody, Now Available, get it. It's right on the mark.)

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 Down With Gravity by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.56 | 5 ratings

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Down With Gravity
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 3.5 stars, but exceptionally I'll round it up to 4

Well, a long time had gone since a new FE album arrived on the vendors' lists with the previous OTAA, but they followed up quickly with this one. Bassist Jack Vees is now fully integrated in the group and he shines throughout the album, but this doesn't audibly affect the group's general sound or musical direction. On the other hand, there are much less tracks than usual, although they still retain strange and funny titles, thus making them (sometimes much longer, such as the 20-mins Fruit Pie Salesman.

Roughly speaking, the typical FE paw is still very much present, with 80's Crimson and Frippian influences, a strange kind of humour between Zappa's senses of instrumental pastiche, Miriodor-type of melodies and French TV's surf and rockabilly influences, very obvious in the opening part of closing track Better Be Early. Conceding taking much inspiration from TV shows themes, jingles and interludes., FE strives to be unpredictable, and usually manages it well enough, until the usual saturation level is reached around the ¾ mark of the album. Among the unusual trick in their tracks is a drum solo accompanying an Einstein speech on Relativity (Tell The Little Man), ending in snores, before an entrance door bell chimes, rolling in the afore-mentioned 20-mins Fruit Pie Salesman and its Frippian guitar arpeggios, which are overstaying a bit their welcome (8 minutes) saved by a great intuitive bass, before pulling a solid (and rare) solo stuck between Hendrix and Pinhas, then a McLaughlin-like jazzy interlude before returning to, the Frippian arpeggios. If O'meara remains himself, the brilliant frontman, switching between all his guitars andc effects, tapes and loops, and Vees pulls in some fine moments, it is drummer Roulat that finds his glory moments such as in Cut The Soles Off My Shoes. After a surf-music intro, Better Be Early moves into a deadly Heldon-like mid-section, before returning to surfing occupations.

Like all other FE albums, DWG exudes much fun and toys around with your brains, but also wears you out, with the sheer repetition of constantly shifting tracks. A very cool album, but like all FE albums, it doesn't manage to stand out anymore than previous efforts of theirs, but it is difficult to find a group that maintains such a constancy, outside the pure RIO realm.

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 Opportunity Crosses The Bridge by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.53 | 5 ratings

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Opportunity Crosses The Bridge
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Recorded with the same line-up and one year later than their debut album, Opportunity Crosses The Bridge, this album might just FE's wackiest of all. Bearing 29 tracks (!!) in all, the longer ones are all clocking well under the 3 minutes mark, bar two of the three closers at 4 minutes, this album is some sort of concept with short interludes bearing chemical elements on Mendeleev's tables as names. I'm guessing the artwork photo is Rome's Coliseum, taken from the inside between the outer and inner shell.

Claiming to be recorded live in the studio with no overdubs over just two days, it's clear that FE is about performance and tightness, pulling very few actual solos. Musically the "longer" tracks are somewhat very similar to the debut album (read that review), but the small interludes are almost more interesting than the main tracks, themselves. Indeed,Boron, Radium and Einsteinium being weird drones somewhere between organ and harmonium, Antimony, Carbon, Tin and Neon being effect-laden marimba pieces sometimes with other percussions, Hydrogen a percussive mix of tubular bells and bass drum beats, Mercury is an electric piano twiddle, Oxygen sounding like a harmonium recorded backwards with weird percussions and Phosphorus is drum and straight piano ditty. One of the oddity for FE on this album is the track with a narration, the only non-instrumental in their early discography. On The Way To Chartres even reminds me a bit of Velvet Underground's The Gift, as the narration starts first, than the group comes in, retires, appears again as the recited text continues, overflowing in the closing Bye Bye Barbie.

Although at first listen OCTB might seem fairly different, it is just as good as the first album, but doesn't differ that much from it either, after repeated listenings. Those very same listenings will become a bit more arduous as the repetition of their unpredictability ends up creating the opposite effect and there is weariness by the ¾ mark of this album, saved a bit by the spoken finale. Certainly worth an attentive listen, more than that is up to you.

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 Artificial Horizon by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Artificial Horizon
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

First album from this oddball guitar trio from New England (Connecticut to be more precise), appearing less than two years after their formation and it was released on the outstanding Cuneiform label. Unlike much of their label-mates, FE never verse in dissonant or atonal music (almost never, anyway); so in theory at least, they should be more accessible to progheads into symphonic-type of prog, but by all means, they're no cinch or shoo-in either. With a cute artwork, and seventeen tracks, it might be a little wondersome for incredulous progheads to believe that there aren't any repetitions over the course of the album.

Indeed with only one guest on bassoon on one track, the rest of their music is either a guitar-lead trio or a keyboard-lead trio, which might seem to reduce the musical possibilities, especially in the absence of any kind of vocals or singing whatsoever, bar a few spoken son presentations. And if listened to in a distractedly manner, your judgment will be reinforced in that direction. But if properly investigated FE's world will easily unfold before your very eyes (or ears should I say) and the full spectrum of their musical realm will suddenly seem endless. Indeed their spectrum includes jazz/fusion, blues, swing, folk, surf-rock, rockabilly, RIO and they mix all of them to get a weird output that could easily fit old 20th century B&W movies (Chaplin or Keaton) and cartoon (early Disney or Tex Avery) soundtracks. Some of their tracks bear funny names and some of the songs even have a strange sort of musical humour, a bit like a sedated Zappa. The album was recorded live in the studio (no overdubs) for its huge majority, but in parts (two tracks) live at NY's famous Knitting factory.

Their obvious musical references (let's limit them to the "prog" world) are 80's King Crimson (especially once they get into those Chapman stick-type of tracks), Frank Zappa (minus the zaniness and the ridiculous aspects of his music), Art Bears (when they stay wise and not too unconventional) and sometimes French TV. Miriodor, and Debile Menthol are not far away either. Vrtacek's (better known as O'Meara) guitar style is definitely inspired of Robert Fripp's 80's period (this is especially evident on Rainbowhead), beit Crimson or the League Of Crafty Guitarist, while Roulat's percussion works is strongly inspired of Chris Cutler's sturdy but sober style but retaining its weirdness. Bassist Marc Sichel's style is more of a chameleon-esque nature, bending in all direction to link musically his two partners. Some of these tracks are completely unpredictable, presenting completely up to three or four different facets, often abruptly veering direction without warning or worried of smooth chord transitions, requiring a constant awareness/attention because the songs's succession and separation can get confusing. There are some punkish electric guitars in Women On The Move, classical piano on Electric Pants, Surf-music moves later in the same track, a weird cover of Hendrix's Manic Depression and Frippian guitars all over.

Over the years, I can't really say that I've seen a huge progression in FE's music, bar a few refinements and fine tuning, so it's pretty hard to give you a recommendation about one specific album. Artificial horizon is not their most refined, but it bears the typical freshness of an early release, something disappearing quickly after a bunch of albums.

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 Racket Science by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 9 ratings

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Racket Science
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Someone at All Music Guide described this band's music as "perfect for the avant-prog fan's vacation at the beach", and that pretty much hits the target of what Forever Einstein's musical statement is all about - eclectic musicality with an overall weird tone of experimentation and filled with easy-going dynamics. This easy-going dynamics is mostly due to the use of elements from lightweight pop-rock, bluegrass and surf in their basic mixture of jazz-rock, psychedelia, rock-oriented RIO and late 70s Zappa. Their instrumentation follows the power-trio structure, but their sound is more subtle and constrained than your regular power-trio's tendency, usually trying to show that they don't need to be more than three to be really powerful. Not with Forever Einstein: they do prove that their compositions and performances can be genuinely interesting (and by interesting, I mostly mean weird.) while retaining a sense of control through their input. The result is the clever use of deceptive naiveté as the main nucleus for their demanding instrumental excursions. Demanding without showing it off: just like their technical abilities, the musicians are constantly focused on exercising a constraining control upon the potential neurosis that invades most of their performances - the complexity is made more obvious in the tracks' frameworks than in their actual deliveries. "Racket Science" is the only album I own from this band so far, but I've been so positively impressed that I'm looking forward to complete their entire catalogue into my personal collection. Anyway, let's go for the repertoire. Track 1 is slightly dissonant, but mostly funny and lighthearted, almost frivolous, including some wicked counterpoints in a funny fashion. Track 2 doesn't go too far from this trend, although there's certainly a more pronounced closeness to a sort of CCR-meets-punk. Track 3 surpasses the previous two numbers regarding candor an easy-going vibes, despite its menacing title. Track 4 is the first one to bear intriguing sounds in a prominent fashion, while track 5 provides what seems to be a hint of melancholy, with its clever use of subtleties and empty spaces among the concise guitar chords and drum rolls - pay attention to the intelligently delivered guitar solo, very Frithian indeed. Track 6 pursues this same direction taking it a bit further, with their mixture of softened 80's KC, psychedelic rock and country. Track 7 lightens things back up, before the weirdest section of the album emerges: tracks 8-10 really epitomize the band's most prototypical direction. Track 8 displays an extroverted mixture of funky- fusion, surf and psychedelic prog, while tracks 9 and 10 procure to sound generally more disturbing than usual, but always incorporating a healthy dose of surf and/or bluegrass. I can sense in track 10's main theme some resemblance with Don Caballero's playful side. Also, the closing improvisation feels very tight and intriguing - arguably, it is the album's highlight. Track 11 sounds like a surf-infected Boud Deun, while track 12 closes down the album on an ethereal note. "Racket Science" is a great prog item, and I totally recommend it as an experience for the uninitiated.

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 Artificial Horizon by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Artificial Horizon
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Forever bizarre!

This is very tough to describe! One of those bands that throws just about every style into the pot of Avant madness. A talented trio of gents with a Supersister sense of humor and a willingness to try anything to win you over. The guitar sound is mostly clean and the band sound is sparse, modern, and very tight.

Does it work? I honestly don't know even after many spins. Many of you who enjoy 80s Crimson and weird jazz projects may go nuts for this, but just as many of you are really going to despise this record. Personally I fall somewhere in between. I enjoy the almost constant quirkiness and solid playing while at the same time the overall experience is strangely devoid of emotion (to me.) I would also note this in an album with low SAF (Spouse Acceptence Factor.)

I'll go 3 stars for Artificial Horizon, definately "good" but probably "not essential" for those outside of the genre in question.

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 One Thing After Another by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.44 | 6 ratings

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One Thing After Another
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

4 stars Very funny album... I'm serious... Forever Einstein third album is a kind of strange mixture between strong avant garde compositions and really funny passages flirting with other rock styles and even jazz, with a remarkable emphasys on the guitar work of Mr. Charles Vrtacek.

Refreshing, techically well done and with lots of humor in the music and the titles of every song. Some of my favourites (for title and music): The Girl With The Flame Maple Chest (And Black Walnut Drawers), Oh Lord, Please Bless The Rocket House And All Those Who Live Inside The Rocket House, Curly, Get The Ladder!, The Boat Attacked By Toy Pirates On Real Water Bad Weather (Changed Our Plans) and Stand Back, You Bloated Museum Of Treachery!. All of that songs are full of sudden rhythmical changes, creative arrangements and a constant sense of trying to be funny but keeping a total control of the music.

Every composition belongs to Mr. Vrtacek who -once again- shows his talent and his quality of one of the best musicians of the RIO genre on these days...

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 Down With Gravity by FOREVER EINSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.56 | 5 ratings

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Down With Gravity
Forever Einstein RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars I purchased this group's 'Down With Gravity' CD with anticipation on some good press. I suppose, by definition, it is progressive rock but the sound is much more reminiscent of an experimental garage band with a sense of play and a taste for surf music. This is not what I crave in the progressive rock and fusion I seek out and, even after several listens, these guys just left me in a hazy fog. Maybe another of Forever Einstein's records would sway me but for now, I can't in good conscience recommend them to anyone.

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