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VOLAPÜK

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Volapük biography
VOLAPÜK is exactly in the same inspiration as the other projects and musical deliriums of drummer Guigou CHENEVRIER. After ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN or even LES BATTERIES, the music is clearly RIO with instruments such as violin, bass, clarinet, cello, flute, harmonium and drums. The most unique element of VOLAPÜK is their melodic sense in abstract music. The music is catchy while pushing the envelope. This is a difficult balancing act but one VOLAPÜK is very successful at.

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VOLAPÜK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.67 | 10 ratings
Le Feu De Tigre / Tiger Fire
1995
2.54 | 13 ratings
Slang!
1997
4.24 | 37 ratings
Polyglöt
2000
3.89 | 10 ratings
Where is Tamashii?
2003

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

4.20 | 5 ratings
Pükapök
1999

VOLAPÜK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

VOLAPÜK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

VOLAPÜK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Slang!  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.54 | 13 ratings

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Slang!
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars 1997 sees Volapuk launching another attempt to flirt with the audience of Avant Prog and RIO genres, the album ''Slang!'' was released again on Cuneiform Records.It finds the trio of Chenevier/Saurel/Mandel with an expanded instrumental armour, which now included a normal clarinet, a saxophone plus the use of electronics.15 tracks are presented here and six of them were originally composed and performed on a dance performance by Maguy Marin.

Truth is the album starts off quite nicely with a palette of RIO, Chamber Music and Avant Rock colors, the trio plays a dense music with dissonances and improvised parts, occasionally breaking into ethnic grounds, heavily based on wind instruments and percussion, featuring even some charming and entertaining tunes, which the debut was actually lacking.The display of electronic effects seems also to help the band at this point.The following mass of pieces are not that convincing, in fact the music becomes even catastrophic and chaotic.You will find yourself wondering why the instruments were expanded in the first place as soon as you face the mood of the band for sonic experimentations and minimalistic soundscapes.The atonal passages and pessimistic textures dominate the album with a jazzy and orchestral attitude, but the performances are not consistent or tight.Certain pieces sound extremely abstract and experimental, struggling to find a place between Ethnic, Experimental or Chamber Music, which is not a good thing.The technical accomplishment returns in a few MIRIODOR-like chamber orchestrations with a quirky execution, but the industrial moments circulate constantly around and result a very inhuman and cold atmosphere.The more ethnic-oriented tunes with the clarinet in the forefront appear to be the more interesting ones as well, with a slight KRAAN feeling and more adequate performances.

Instruments are expanded and so are the band's music fields, but not always for a good reason.Atonal approach on RIO music with a few nice instrumentals but also some cold-blooded experimentations with a doubtful result.Recommended only to fans close to Avant Prog tastes.

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 Le Feu De Tigre / Tiger Fire  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.67 | 10 ratings

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Le Feu De Tigre / Tiger Fire
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Volapuk was the new project of Guigou Chenevier,drummer of RIO progsters Etron Fou Leloublan,back in 1993.The band started as a trio with no bass or guitars,featuring (except Chenevier on drums) also Michel Mandel on bass clarinet and cellist Guillaume Saurel.The debut ''Le feu du tigre'' came out in 1995 on Cuneiform Records.

The band draws influences from Classical,Jazz and Ethnic Music (I can detect a few Chinese tunes),trying to put them together into a personal form.Unfortunately the limited instrumentation does'nt help them.Some tracks are quite good with fine interplays and constant sudden breaks.They have been compared to MIRIODOR,but the sound of the later is much more harmonic and richer.On ''Le feu du tigre'' melodies are totally absent,while there are plenty of personal performances with cello solos or marching drums without to impress the listener.There is also a jazzy-oriented improvisation mood here and there,making the listening even harder to follow.On the other side it would be a crime not to mention that the three musician are all excellent handlers of their instruments,but the whole mix simply tends to be monotonous after a few minutes.

Some additional instruments would help the band approach a wider audience or simply create a more harmonic sound.For the moment I would recommend this album only to specialized ears,experienced in Chamber or Jazz Music.For the rest I am quite certain that the album will be rather a painful and hard listening.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It was really good to finally hear this band and this album in particular. Logan has mentioned this record several times so it's about time I took the plunge. I'm very familiar with the great French Rio band ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN, and it's the former drummer for that band who leads VOLAPUK.This band is a trio with the other members playing clarinet, flute and violincello. Guigou the drummer also plays marimba and there is a guest violin player helping out and adding her vocals on one track. I like the bio here that describes the music as abstract yet melodic, catchy but pushing the envelope.

"Vieux Futur" sounds very interesting to start. What are those sounds ? Then bass clarinet, violincello and violin lead as drums beat away. I like the dissonant violin after 3 minutes. "Nusrat" opens with clarinet as a full sound kicks in quickly.Vocals before a minute. Great sound before 2 minutes with the violin and drums standing out. Flute follows. Vocals are back later. "Voila Puk" has a catchy rhythm to it as flute and violin play over top. "Sanza" is different sounding as marimba and taragot lead. "Tante Yo" opens with bass clarinet and violincello. Deep bass sounds are the result. Drums and violin join in. Great sound here. The violin gets a little crazy 2 minutes in. "Entre 2 Zoo" features relaxed horns leading the way. Violin then becomes prominant too.

"Technovo" is more uptempo with lots of intricate sounds. So much going on. "Marimba" is much the same but with marimba standing out surprisingly. I like when it changes around 1 1/2 minutes as the sound gets fuller. "Des Liens Invisibles" is uptempo with violin, drums and bass clarinet leading.The violin gets a little dissonant a minute in. Nice.Then it turns catchy again. "Valse Chinoise" has a clarinet led rhythm. Violin late. "Pablo" is mournful early with the strings and clarinet. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Much better ! "Medication & Yoghurt" opens with marimba and other intricate sounds as violin joins in. "L'oeuf D'apuk" is better as strings lead along with clarinet in this catchy rhythm. Spoken words come in when the music stops. Funny. This continues on and off. It turns insane after 2 minutes. Killer stuff right there. Hilarious too.

A solid 4 stars although I must admit it's going to take a while for me to fully appreciate what's going on here.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by uduwudu

5 stars Volapuk ? Polyglot 2010-08-09

Polyglot is an album of some rather exquisite melodies lofted some driving and dynamic rhythms. Des Liens Invisibles is one highlight (only as a matter of personal preference.) If such a crass business thing would apply this is the numero uno hit single off the album.) The moods vary, sometimes in a chord change. The overall feel of the album is dark but tinged with humour but secretive. Volapuk have what I find is a truly European avant-garde style but rooted in a more traditional chamber sound. In away the journeys that American jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane (just to mention a mere three) made to Europe in the 1940s ? 1960s had their influence. This influence manifested itself in the return trip; the similarly melodic family of music in Frank Zappa's Hot Rats album. The European melodies (Peaches En Regalia ? it's there in the title too) are the jazz influenced European tunes as interpreted by the Mother Superior, himself a big name in Europe. The US jazz, blending with European folk traditions informs the RIO scene. Insofar as it never was a scene, more a way of getting contemporary European music to an audience that is likely to give it the time of day. Volapuk's music is very European chamber orchestral, very melodic, only very occasionally dissonant and it is very atmospheric, quite intimate really. It is composed, performed with wit, precision and soul. I have a (heh, RIO ROIO) of a Volapuk performance and this album could be an example of one take performances. In other words this band is as great in concert as well as the studio. It's not rock, there are no rock tunes or instruments. It is well outside of a rock tradition and would find favour in 20th Century modern classical, European folk and possibly jazz although the connection is tenuous at best there. It is some of the most cohesive, and easily accessible music of the prog rock RIO sub genre. It's a lot of fun as well. Essential to the Avant RIO collection, a general progressive rock collection would find a place for it. Modern classical enthusiasts (hey, teachers, don't leave this album alone) should find a place for it in heart and collection. There are no odd ball tracks and the album zips by effortlessly. Inspired tunes, flawless performance and atmospheric production make this album a gem. It's albums of music like this that make exploring beyond the mainstream (art rock) the sort of thing that makes one want to be marooned away from said mainstream ? at least for a bit! . . I know five star ratings get overused by fans so I'm trying to be as grimly objective as possible. I'll round it up to six. Okay, well I would if I could.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by le orme

4 stars Excellent release by this RIO/chamber rock group from France. I doscovered this group very recently after gaining interest in bands such as UNIVERS ZERO and I was not dissapointed by what I got. This album is a mix of jazz, chamber rock, and classical music all woven perfectly together to create a great work of progressive music. The highlights of the album would be "View Futur" and "Valse Chinoise" (soo beautiful). The last track, "L'oeuf d'Apük", from where the album gets its name, is a very comical yet sad song with a nice folk tale. It ends with a moral but I could never understand the vocals because it is said very softly...it jsut adds an element of mystery to the whole thing. Overall: great release with some apparent influences but mostly inventive. Good for lovers of bands such as ETRON FOU, UNIVERS ZERO, HENRY COW. Highly recommended

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 Le Feu De Tigre / Tiger Fire  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.67 | 10 ratings

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Le Feu De Tigre / Tiger Fire
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars One of those typically French or Belgian group evolving on the outer fringes of rock and even prog rock, and clearly fitting in Avant-prog. Generally these groups are at least four or five musos, but here Volapuk chose to evolve as a trio, which I think limits them over a whole album, but certainly if they go beyond this album and on to a second one.

But there are some superb elements that make Volapuk in general, but also this album in particular, endearing to us progheads: the dual sound of the cello along with the bass clarinet give a warm near-orgasmic ambiances, the superb overall musicianship. Some of Mandel's synths sound (few and far between) could've been more appropriate, and his sax playing (unannounced in the credits) is apt. Around the half mark of the album, the music becomes more experimental (atonal or dissonant) and arduous, but the end of the album regains the excitement of of the first track, namely El Sombrero, which is truly the highlight.

Volapuk is close to group in the UZ or Miriodor, but unfortunately, their tiny line-up also limits their sound, therefore being relatively monotonous on the length of the album.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dan Yaron

4 stars Volapuk returns with a new album, and dissapointment is certainly NOT provided here! These guys have been improving their music so much since their previous album. Unlike the other album (Slang), this one is a great RIO album. In addition, a new members (Takumi Fukushime) has joined the trio, and now it's actually a lovely quartet that plays fine RIO! As far as I know many people consider this genre boring, and I can certainly agree with them about it when it comes to few albums, especially the previous one by Volapuk. However, this album doesn't appear in the list of boring RIO albums because it's actually a great achievement by these people, and they really succeed in providing the RIO fans with good RIO tunes full of strings and other accustic instruments. Moreover, I recommend you listen to this album if you are fond of Univers Zero, Present, Gatto Marte, Cro Magnon, Art Zoyd and so on.

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 Slang!  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.54 | 13 ratings

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Slang!
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dan Yaron

2 stars According to the description Volapuk is a Jazz/Fusion band, but I consider this band a RIO chamber band. The trio offers the sounds of a bass clarinet, a clarinet, a taragot, drums, a saxophone and a cello. However, this album isn't Essential at all in my opinion. Moreover, most of the songs are quite boring, although they are some interesting moments. In addition, I suggest you try the old albums by Univers Zero if you'd like to hear good RIO music. In short, this one is recommended only for the die hard fans of Volapuk or RIO music.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This excellent album by French band Volapük led by Etron Fou drummer GUIGOU CHENEVRIER is one of the best and most accessible Avantgarde/RIO albums I've ever listened to. The mixture of world music and odd Avant stuff presented here is just perfectly done. They are using some rather uncommon instruments like the taragot, which is a bit similar to oboe or the African sanza which is composed of a series of flexible tongues of uneven length, made of metal or bamboo, fixed to a wooden plate or trapezoid sound-box.

There are no real highlights on this album which doesn't mean that it is boring but rather because all the tracks are so great and wonderful that it actually defies any description. It's not one of those RIO albums that are full of weirdness, actually the only more crazy one is the last track but nevertheless it does not lack exciting moments at all. Overall it's a very enjoyable and versatile listen with a certain amount of oddity, maybe not necessarily to be recommended to those fellows who love their RIO as crazy as possible but I'd call it an excellent addition to any prog collection and I'd like to advice anyone who is looking for some special uncommon music, not exclusively RIO-fans to check out this album. It's worth for many many enjoyable listens.

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 Polyglöt  by VOLAPÜK album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 37 ratings

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Polyglöt
Volapük RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Minstrel X

5 stars It is indeed one of the best RIO albums of the new wave, quite possibly one of the best Avant Garde rock albums released on the 21st century (only four years, but lots of albums). Guigou Chenevier has condensed the eclectical spirit of Etron Fou and combined it with the modern feeling of relentless desesperation and the noetic values and proportions RIO is proud to annlunce: nihilist and sterile free-form movements where the content surpasses the transcendence of the form. This is musical Dadaism. The Lars Hollmer creations redefine the context of Volapük and take music from a more rotten view. This is a band who owes its complexity to the power of improvisation.

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