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RIO/Avant-Prog • Czech Republic

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Combo FH biography
Combo Franty Hromady (Combo FH for short) was a Czechoslovakian Jazz-Rock/RIO influenced band formed in 1974 that took their influences most notably from Frank Zappa, displaying a odd and humoristic overall sound in their music, not unlike the early Canterbury scene. Musically, they are very diverse, transcending several different genres during their compositions while still being rooted in Jazz and avantgarde fields, although folk and classical elements are present as well. A notable thing about the band is their intricate interplay between wind instruments like saxophone and bassoon with percussions, making the music very entertaining and fun to listen to. Their first full-lenght album, Vèci (1980) is claimed to be their best and showcases the band at their creative peak. Their second and last album, Situace na Střese (1985), took a much more commercial approach but is still a fairly good listen for fans. This band should definitely appeal to fans of Samla Mammas Manna, Frank Zappa, Begnagrad and the likes, and also to fans of Jazz-Rock/Canterbury that is a bit quirkier than usual.

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Vèci, studio album (1980)
Situace na Střese, studio album (1985)

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COMBO FH: Veci / Situace na streseCOMBO FH: Veci / Situace na strese
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COMBO FH discography

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

3.65 | 14 ratings
2.88 | 6 ratings
Situace na Střese

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

COMBO FH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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COMBO FH Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vèci by COMBO FH album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.65 | 14 ratings

Combo FH RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. COMBO FH were from the Czech Republic and they released two albums back in the eighties. This is the debut and it's a highly complex album with punchy sounds as these songs constantly change. MIRIODOR came to mind a lot although I much prefer their music to this. I should mention that the follow-up album sounds like eighties New Wave so it seems they are a band of extremes. This one was a tough one to actually enjoy even though it's clear these guys are brilliant composers and players. We get 14 tracks over 38 minutes and to my ears this is pretty sterile music or maybe it's over my head. In fact I think Bj-1's review holds more weight than mine because this recording does get a lot of praise from Avant fans.

"Guma-Gu" has this almost Reggae-like rhythm as sounds honk, pulse and beat. A change before 3 minutes as the rhythm stops but it's back at 4 minutes. "Sedli A Jedli" is all over the place until it settles. It picks up 2 minutes in with sax playing over the complexity. So much going on. "Oukleji Slalem" is laid back with sax but then it picks up before a minute. Catchy stuff. It settles back down with piano to end it. "Juta Targo" is a short pice that's all over the place. "Reznk Zitra Neprijede" is uptempo and complex although we do get a brief calm after a minute.

"Sen Susene Jahody" doesn't really become melodic until 3 minutes in. Before that we get some accordion, sax and a strange sounding instrument. "Laserova Pout" features piano, drums and more. "Koko A Bucka" is short with intricate sounds. "Je Za Deset Minut, Pardale" kicks into a full sound after a minute. So much going on. Love the abrasive guitar after 1 1/2 minutes but it's brief. "Priloz Ucho" eventually gives up a crazy rhythm with sax. "Druha Nejlepsi Pasticka Na Mysi" is an interesting pice. Quite short. "Zeleny Muz" has some atmosphere to it for a change and bassoon i believe. "Tam Na Horach V Rakosi" is bright and uptempo. "Asi To Zabalime, I Josef Oz To Zavinul" ends it in a relaxed manner.

A tough listen for me but certainly recommended to Rio / Avant fans.

 Situace na Střese  by COMBO FH album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.88 | 6 ratings

Situace na Střese
Combo FH RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars COMBO FH were a Czech band who released two albums in the eighties. Their debut is highly respected by Avant fans for it's Jazzy flavour and the incredible interplay of the musicians. This one is the second record released in 1986 and it bears no resemblance to it's predecessor. In any way (haha). In fact I couldn't really believe what I was hearing. This is very eighties sounding Pop with those plastic, fake sounding percussion dance grooves to that eighties vocal style we all know. I really thought that this must be a spoof on eighties music but apparently this is for real. I still can't get over how eighties this is, I felt like I was transported back in time to when New Wave ruled the air waves.

"Dnes V Noci" has lots of that percussion with vocals. Horns before 2 minutes and a guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes. "Psi Hodinar" is laid back with vocals. I really like this one and it has lots of atmosphere. "Filmy Diouhych Zaberu" has a dance beat with vocals. it picks up some before 2 minutes and the sax joins in briefly. "Sluchatka" makes me laugh. They can't be serious. Haha. "Mladi Vybourene" has those deep vocals and light sounds. Again i'm trying not to laugh here. "HM. HM. HM." isn't bad with the horns coming in after a minute.

"Plany" is different and my favourite. Lots of atmosphere with vocals that are reserved. Some clarinet too then the vocals get more passionate. Nice. "Vemisaz" is one that gets me laughing again with those light vocals and beat. "Klouzes" is one I like while "Situace Na Strese" is the only instrumental but with those fake dance beats. Horns after 2 minutes. "Soused Kope Jamu, Ale My Dva" has these loungey vocals and lazy sax and i'm running for the door, but then it gets better until we get a great sound 3 minutes in with atmosphere and sax.

I can't imagine any Prog fans giving this 4 stars or for that matter even 3 stars. For me though it's an entertaining listen that takes me back to a time in my life when I was having a blast.

 Vèci by COMBO FH album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.65 | 14 ratings

Combo FH RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Bj-1
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another lovley obscurity that I digged up during my venture into RIO/Avant-Prog music!

Combo FH (shortened from Combo Franty Hromady) plays a very unusal and eclectic style of music, toying with the avantgarde with a Canterburian approach. Traces of folk and classical can be heard as well, mostly because of the slightly chamber oriented instrumentation, including bassoon and violin. But if I shall compare this band to other RIO bands/artists, I would say Begnagrad, Samla Mammas Manna, Frank Zappa and Albert Marcoeur would come close, with similar humoristic and absurd elements in the music, and their own unique take on experimentation. A very notable thing with this band is their VERY unorthodox use of "percussions" inclluding scissors, bicycle pumps, clocks, and carpets to spice up the music from time to time. It works incredibly well. The music is very lighthearted, with a very gentle use of dissonance, but still maintaining a very odd and RIO-ish approach, done in a way that surely would make RIO fans drool. The arrangements are fairly complex, not unlike Henry Cow, and are mostly written by leader/keyboardist Daniel Fikejz who stands out as one of the most interesting composers I've heard recently. He's also a very established name in the Czech Jazz and movie score scene. The rest of the band shines as well, and I really admire the music and instrumentation very much!

To quote their bio, 'the band were purely a part-time activity, all the while the band members kept their day jobs as everything from academic mathematicians and computer programmers to waiters and janitors'. Makes me think how their other albums would be if they released more of this kind, hehe. Anyways, this is a very unique, interesting and fun album that really should be heard. 4.5/5.

Thanks to Bj-1 for the artist addition.

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