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NON CREDO

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Non Credo biography
Biography taken from the band's official website and used with kind permission from the band:

Non Credo is the Los Angeles based duo of multi-instrumentalists Joseph Berardi and Kira Vollman. She's a singer, he's a drummer, but their musical palette extends well beyond the scope of their primary instruments. Clarinets, marimbas, accordions, cellos, broken down keyboards, cheap electronics, children's toys and anything else that falls into their path are utilized. Nothing is sacred, nothing is wasted. Layering sounds and textures, they create enchanting songs and evocative moods in the seclusion of their studio, Zauberklang. Kira's voice displays a remarkable range, both tonally and emotionally, and their musical landscape is equally far-reaching. They draw from all styles and eras of music, from contemporary experimental forms to Saturday morning cartoons to film scores to pygmy war chants. But they can be equally excited by a page from Edward Gorey, a B movie full of smoke and fog, a twisted Bruegel landscape or an overheard conversation in a late-night diner. From gothic thriller to film noir haze to disturbed fairy tale, their audience is led on a journey with many detours and dark alleys along the way. Colorful characters inhabit their world, telling tales of the mundane elements of everyday life...greed, lust, hatred, crippling fear. You are never sure where this journey will lead, but be prepared to get seasick, be beaten up, thrown in jail, fall in love, contract an STD, have your heart broken, your wallet stolen, get shanghaied, hog tied and crucified.

The roots of Non Credo can be traced back to their first collaboration in the mid-80's called HumDrum, which was strictly voice and percussion. Seeking to expand, they began adding other players but soon grew weary of the frustrations of holding 3 or 4 neurotic musicians together to play their music. Instead they decided to invest in recording equipment and do it all themselves. This led to a compositional style that is totally integrated with and dependent upon the performances of the composers. They are interested in the expansion of the song form, creating atmospheres around a set of lyrics in a sometimes cinematic way.

Non Credo's debut LP, "Reluctant Hosts", was released in 1988 by No Man's Land, the German affiliate of Recommended Records, and re-released on CD in 2000. In 1995 they released "Happy Wretched Family" on the noted Canadian label, Les Disques Victo. They have ...
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Buy NON CREDO Music


Happy Wretched FamilyHappy Wretched Family
Victo 1995
Audio CD$10.36
$5.99 (used)
Reluctant HostsReluctant Hosts
CD Baby 2006
Audio CD$16.18
$74.04 (used)
ImproperaImpropera
Gazul/Musea 2006
Audio CD$17.19
$87.12 (used)
Non Credo Happy Wretched Family Mainstream JazzNon Credo Happy Wretched Family Mainstream Jazz
Records
Audio CD$32.47
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NON CREDO discography


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NON CREDO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.77 | 4 ratings
Reluctant Hosts
1988
4.70 | 11 ratings
Happy Wretched Family
1995
4.59 | 8 ratings
Impropera
2006

NON CREDO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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NON CREDO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Reluctant Hosts by NON CREDO album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.77 | 4 ratings

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Reluctant Hosts
Non Credo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by maribor1

5 stars Non Credo started off their recording career in 1988 with Reluctant Hosts, an album that would mark a long and artistically successful relationship between Joe Berardi and Kira Vollman. There have only been two other albums after this debut, but if you have quality like this, quantity isn't that important. Reluctant Hosts was long out of print, but it was luckily rereleased in 2000 and there are still a few copies floating around here and there. If you have a chance, pick this album up as it's a true gem for fans of experimental music.

The first part of the album contains 8 vocal tracks and one composed instrumental, while the second part is filled with mostly improvisations (I think). All the vocal tracks are great, with traditionally twisted and fun lyrics by Kira Vollman. The styles vary from almost cabaret songs, to what sounds like almost pop (for Non Credo) and experimental parts that Non Credo would later become renowned for on their Happy Wretched Family album. There's also a circus-like atmosphere on the instrumental "Ask the Bearded Lady" (a fitting title).

The second part of the album is comprised of songs without any conventional vocals, but Kira does create some havoc with her vocal experiments. In this part of the record, we can hear Non Credo basically doing any genre you please - from jazz, classical, avant-garde, ambient. It's almost as if they were trying to show off their credentials. Look at us! This is what we can do! But I see nothing wrong with this, at least not with Non Credo, because every segments sounds like a natural progression of the next one and nothing seems forced.

Kira Vollman's lyrics are again spectacular. She creates her own world of dark humour, where she takes sometimes extremely tragic events and puts a humorous twist on them. The standout tracks in this department are (for me) "Looking in the Window" and "Thank You Mommy". I can't think of anyone who is able to create something so funny, yet thoughtful from a theme that is basically very sombre.

It is sometimes hard to believe that Non Credo is only a duo. True, there are some guest musicians here, but most of the work is done by Joe and Kira. I am particularly impressed by Joe's work on percussion, the keyboard parts (from both) and naturally Kira's vocals. Perhaps, this is their most eclectic work to date in terms of style, as they seem to effortlessly switch between so many different genres, like classical, jazz, avant-garde, cabaret, pop,...

The only part of the album that Non Credo's inexperience is evident is in choosing the song sequence. They put all the tracks with the lyrics in the first part of Reluctant Hosts, while the second part contains some ambient and experimental passages. On their two following releases they would remedy this and combine the tracks more wisely.

Apart from the one shortcoming I mentioned, Non Credo's debut is nothing short of excellent. There are no signs of immaturity, the music is well crafted and cleaver as always. The lyrics again stand out, as does the wacky (and serious) music. Joe and Kira made an incredible album with Reluctant Hosts, one that transcends genre classification. This album shows the enthusiasm of musicians eager to explore new musical worlds and the craftsmanship of experienced composers. Non Credo has to be heard to be believed!

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 Happy Wretched Family by NON CREDO album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.70 | 11 ratings

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Happy Wretched Family
Non Credo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by maribor1

5 stars Non Credo is a duet consisting of two multi-instrumentalist, the beautiful Kira Vollman and Joseph Berardi. They first burst on the scene with the 1988 release Reluctant Hosts. So, the band has been around for some time and this album is their second release.

It took them seven years to release this effort after the great Reluctant Hosts, but it was definitely worth the wait. Vollman and Berardi not only managed to do an album that was a worthy successor to the debut, but actually created something that in many ways surpasses it.

It is extremely difficult to define exactly what kind of music this pair plays. Anything goes, basically. Sometimes we hear them doing some sophisticated chamber rock in the style of the masters of the genre, Univers Zero, sometimes we hear them doing heavier stuff, like the metal parts in Piano Urine. A lot of their music is indeed, like most avant-garde, based on dissonance, but it is obvious that they have an ear for a good melody as well. So they combine these sometimes very catchy tunes with experiments. And it all works amazingly well. You never get a feeling like anything is forced or out of place. An important element is the voice of Kira Vollman, which could put Non Credo in the category of zeuhl music, especially if I were being nitpicky. Vollman uses a lot of different vocal techniques, just like Vander in Magma, so that so many different and ambitious sounds emanate from her. It is truly amazing. She also sings in a very operatic way, which is another zeuhl characteristic. But anyway you look at it, the music speaks for itself. And the music is still as fresh, original and sounds as wonderful now as it did 15 years ago. If you are a fan of challenging music and do not mind a bit of vocal havoc, then I urge you to buy this record.

The duo are helped on a couple of tracks by Bernard Sauser-Hall on keyboards. His contribution is most noticeable on the brilliant Piano Urine, a true portrayal of all the aspects of the avant-garde. Not that the duo needs any help really. They manage just fine on their own. Berardi is mostly an excellent drummer, but he put down some keyboards and guitar parts as well. Kira Vollman is a superb vocalist, using the operatic qualities of her voice to her advantage and giving the music a zeuhl edge. She also plays keyboards, guitars, basses and the clarinet. They truly are a talented pair, but unfortunately they do not get the recognition they deserve.

This music takes a lot of risks and most of them pay off. That's what distinguishes the good experimenters from the bad. Non Credo know when to draw the line, especially when they find a sound or melody they like. This is not for fans of safe, middle of the road music, or music written in the established musical forms that are deemed ťprettyŤ. Non Credo, like most of the best experimental bands, create their own aesthetic values and if you give them a chance, they will blow your mind!

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 Impropera by NON CREDO album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.59 | 8 ratings

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Impropera
Non Credo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by maribor1

5 stars After the brilliant Happy Wretched Family, Non Credo, a duo from Los Angeles, made up of Joseph Berardi and Kira Vollman, returns to the scene of the crime with a new album. It took them more than ten years for this album to see the light of day. So, the obvious question is: Was it worth the wait? If I had answered after hearing Impropera for the first time, my answer would be no, but now I feel completely different. Let go of all your expectations and musical preconceptions because Joseph and Kira will destroy them. People who know the band might also be surprised by the music, or even disappointed, but do not despair, your efforts will be rewarded. It is true that Joseph Berardi unfortunately completely disregarded the drum kit for this effort and the guitar is almost non-existent as well. The record is already unconventional because of this, but the album hides amazing depths that can only come to the fore after several listenings. Only the best musicians are able to conjure up something like this.

This time, the pair decided on a radically different approach than on Happy Wretched Family. The rocking parts are almost completely gone and so are the drums. Kira does use some percussion, but this cannot replace a drum kit. Kira's voice is therefore even more exposed. Her vocal acrobatics are even crazier and more unpredictable. There are even fewer pure melodies and there is more experimenting. Lovers of Christian Vander's screeches and of Dagmar Krause's style will most certainly enjoy this. Besides the vocal havoc, Kira also uses her crystal clear operatic voice, which, combined with the keyboards, makes the music sound almost completely classical at times. If the rock moments are missing, the avant-garde elements are still thick and fast, both when it comes to the keyboards and the vocals. Despite the absence of rocking moments, there is plenty going on with Kira's beautiful operatic voice, the classical keyboards and the avant-garde segments. Eventually, you get used to how different the music is and accept it for what it is. Its beauty and virtues, although different to Happy Wretched Family but equally as impressive, come shining through.

Just like on Happy Wretched Family, the lyrics are important here as well. Kira Vollman knows how to weave some magic with the words she uses and is able to create some outstanding atmospheres. She is able to create a dark world that sometimes seems turned upside down. Her lyrics can be a bit twisted and frightening at times, but that is all a part of the catharsis that the lyrics combined with the music are able to generate. Kira also occasionally uses a seductive Southern belle accent and the contrast between some of the monstrosities she utters and the attractive voice is highly convincing.

This album by Non Credo may not be as easily accessible as its predecessor, but there is a great deal of charm in the music. The qualities are simply a bit different than on the previous efforts of this pair. At first, the record seemed a bit too classical and avant-garde and I thought it was sorely missing the rock element, but on subsequent listenings, once you get past that mental barrier which disables you from discovering music that is so different, it becomes easier. Even people who are into experimental music have preconceptions as to what experimental music should sound like. It was like that with me. Impropera didn't fit into that category which would specifically suit me. But luckily, I got past my prejudice and let the music crawl under my skin and into my soul. This was very fortunate because Impropera is a glorious album, which could easily frighten people away after only a few minutes with its heavy doses of experimenting. If you like experimental music, I urge you to make an effort with this album because you will reap the rewards later on.

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