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RIO/Avant-Prog • France

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Verto biography
The name Verto is the name under which the French guitarist Jean-Pierre Grasset created his musical vision. To this end he collaborated with several musicians and other bands. One such band which he met before, while working in Tartempion (which helped bands setting up concerts) was Potemkine which also appear in side one of the the first Verto release from 1976, Krig/Volubilis. The second album called Reel was released in 1978 on Fleau records and has a different lineup. Krig/Volubilis, released on the Tapioca/Pôle label, is an instrumental album (with some ethereal voices) with a strong spacey, psychedelic and electronic sound which is remarkable given that there are no keyboards on it. It is a dark and gloomy sounding album, which goes very well with the cover art and experimental in nature which puts it in the avant-garde realm.

Recommended to listeners into experimental and odd music and also to those into spacey sounding music.

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

Why this artist must be listed in :

Krig/Volubilis , studio album (1976)
Reel, studio album (1978)

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3.88 | 20 ratings
3.38 | 13 ratings
Reel 19.36

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VERTO Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Krig/Volubilis  by VERTO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 20 ratings

Verto RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Pôle Records only existed for a brief time from 1975-77 with only a dozen or so releases to its name but for seekers of some of the most adventurous experimental music that the 70s had to offer, this Paris based label has become a veritable goldmine for some of the most obscure examples of true musical freedom coming from various artists around France. VERTØ was one such project and was actually the alter ego of Jean-Pierre Grasset. This musical entity existed from 1974-79 and forged a new musical path that was part Magma inspired zeuhl, part jazz-fusion and part psychedelic experimental rock in the vein of Steve Hillage and Manuel Göttsching. VERTØ was centered in the city of Toulouse. During the same mid-70s period Grasset was the vocalist in the band Le Concert Dans L'?uf.

KRIG / VOLUBILIS, the first out of two albums to emerge and the only to appear on Pôle Records that came out in 1976 and featured Grasset (guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, saw, drums, electronics, composer, recording engineer, sleeve, producer) accompanied by mostly members of fellow Pôle Records group Potemkine who had been forging a similar mix of jazz-rock, zeuhl and avant-prog since 1971. This is an all instrumental album blurring the line between the aforementioned progressive rock genera but also included ample moments of ambient progressive electronic and avant-garde escapism. While the first part of the album is more structured with bubbling zeuhl rhythms and Krautrock guitar freakouts, the second part of the album completely escapes the gravitational pull of musical structure and ventures into the freeform electronic style of Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream.

This is a very dark and spacey album and ideal for those seeking out the farthest out there trips you can embark upon. It's something like early Ash Ra Temple and early Magma jumped on a spaceship together off to Kobaia and then met Klaus Schulze somewhere along the way. Together they crafted a new form of galactic musical form that is inspired by Earthly connections but forged in the vacuum of space and laced with an underpinning of musique concrète and 20th century classical punctuated by zeuhl rhythms, Krautish guitar antics and jazzy decorative features. While Grasset covers the lion's share of the instruments heard on KRIG / VOLUBIS, the Goubin brothers of Potemkine included Gilles Goubin on fretless bass and Charles Goubin on guitar however this album is basically a solo project and the 11 instruments on board are technically performed by guest musicians.

The tracks from "Krig" to "Locomo" cover a lot of ground but it's the 18 1/2 minute "Strato (Incluant Volubilis)" that really launches the album into orbit, structured much in the same way as Can's "Tago Mago" which gently nudged the listener into ever-increasing trippiness until the rocket launch money shot where all Earthly connections are jettisoned and freeform musical sounds squirm and wriggle around in a gravity-free environment. With oscillating feedback, creepy violins and cellos and a darkened bleakness, this and the final track "TK 240 S 52" which provides a monotonous drone and perpetual buzzing straight out of something you'd hear on the soundtrack from "2001: A Space Odyssey" ends the album in a most unsettling way. It becomes apparent why the album has two titles as the first KRIG refers to the more accessible Earth-based side whereas the VOLUBILIS tackles the mysterious free from sounds that possibly could have been the inspiration for modern drone metal.

While the list of releases from Pôle Records was short, it's amazing how many outstanding examples of experimental weirdness were released on this feisty indie label with almost all of its artists having been included on the ultimate tripper's Nurse With Wound list. This album was released twice with a second pressing on the Tapioca label in 1978, the successor to the Pôle Records label but has not seen another reissuing since and is clearly an example of an album that exceeds all expectations and despite the obvious influences on board more than adequately expands the possibilities in order to make a compelling experimental album that goes beyond the call of duty for crafting a truly amazing experimental relic from mid-70s France. Welcome to tripper's paradise. Ecstasy achieved.

 Krig/Volubilis  by VERTO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 20 ratings

Verto RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Surrealistic adventures in sound

I´ve been overwhelmed by the amount of great music coming out of France during the 70s. Especially during the last couple of years, I´ve found myself digging deeper and deeper into these Roquefort cheese- and Bordeaux wine- flavoured obscurities, and one of the biggest revelations to me personally has been the sheer diversity of the avant scene. This scene was about as broad as you can get, with everything from silly Zappaesque dadaism to the full monty sanitarium musicals with stethoscopes and neon boas.

This album by Verto appeals to the psychedelic initiated. Those of us who like our music to be porous and melting - bubbly and surreal. This record is all of the above, but it is somehow not the right description - just putting a psych tag on this mother, - because the rather angular lines within this music, and the monstrous coldness within these - how the music turns your blood into rivers of ice and burns at the same time - this characteristic of it, just doesn´t come across, when one only hears "psychedelic music". Chamber rock then? Well not exactly, but the violon and the ghastly whiffs of voices, that from time to time pop up in the music does have that quality to them. They move about in a horror movie atmosphere and permit the feel of the album in a way that is highly reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, although these 2 artists sound nothing alike. RIO is perhaps the closest you´ll get in description, and the first side, which is filled to the brim of jack in the box drums that pops out of the music, but still keep things tight and earthbound, - is a perfect example of this parallel.

Krig/Volubilis is what I´d call an experiment in sounds - largely built up around the multitude of different facets lurking inside an electric guitar. The brains behind this outing is named Jean-Pierre Grasset, and while he also plays the drums, potentiometers(this is an electronic device much like a light switch, and I´ll be buggered if I can get my head around just how this could be used as an instrument...) and something as poetic as sounds, - his main business on this album is making the guitar sound like everything under the sun. He plays that thing like a bat out of hell, and during some sections I think he´s up there in the highest fields of angular demonic possession with guys like Zappa and Fred Frith. I really do. His guitar bounces of surfaces and creates an invisible dome, in which all the other instruments knuckle under. Again, I hear some similarities with the early RIO bands, but then again this album is far too psychedelic for that to be true. The marathon track Stratos is a fine example of this testimony, and while it has decisively more in common with Tangerine Dream´s Zeit - it basks its majestic oozing presence in waters unknown to this listener. Some of it sounds like it´s played on wine glasses, but giant enormous ones that would take up 15 arm lengths to reach across - let alone handle with delicate musical skill. Other sections sound like buzzing bees, or maybe that Australian telephone that Crocodile Dundee uses in the sequel - y´know that little wooden paddle on a string, that you swing around your head creating these aggressively flapping elliptic sounds that not unlike the didgeridoo - transform into a man maid bug instrument. -And without any form of rhythmic enhancements other than spiralling sculptures of quasi guitar patterns, the whole feel of these gigantic buzzing drones, is one that reminds me of the locust swarms of the old testament. Some of this album is almost ambient music, but there´s so much happening in these otherworldly drones, that calling it ambient just doesn´t seem right. If somebody told me it was an alien form of communication - a way to speak to the stars, then I´d buy it on the spot. In fact, this track could have been the perfect ending to Spielberg´s Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

The final track follows in Stratos´ footprints and does genuinely sound like music, which has been made through the usage of a 2. W.W. fighter cockpit. IIEEEAAAAAARRRHHHHHHOOOOOUUUUHHHMMMM, but in a silent way - Strange as that sounds...

All this and much more - and not a synth in sight! Pretty spectacular and quite the unique experience. The only downside to this album is perhaps the lack of any real structure - the tracks seem bundled up together like apples and oranges going to the steak house, but still there´s bundles of joy to be found in this seductive French affair. I´ve had the weirdest images running through my mind whilst listening to this outing, and something like dancing in mid-air with a lady bug during a plane crash with hundreds of humming crystal glasses singing along - is one of the more mundane of these...

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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