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CATERPILLARMEN

RIO/Avant-Prog • Iceland


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Caterpillarmen biography
The roots of CATERPILLARMEN, currently a four-piece Icelandic rock project that have positioned monkeys as something of a recurring theme in their music, got started, surprisingly, as a blues band. Ísak Örn GUÐMUNDSSON (guitar), Ingimundur GUÐMUNDSSON (keyboards), and Andri ÞÓRHALLSON (drums) had worked with the former blues-based bass player, but they had been fed up with the simplicity and tried to find a new bassist, for their progressive intention.

Zakarías Herman GUNNARSSON (bass) took the place as a new and progressive bassist, whom the other three had searched and considered much appropriate for their strong intention of creating progressive rock - this was the very beginning of CATERPILLARMEN.

They have got much influenced by some progressive bands like King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant, or Giraffes? Giraffes! In Christmas 2008 they finally started out playing, and gigged first in July 2009. For their first 5 or 6 months, they'd been in a poor rehearsal space in some industrial district in Reykjavik, a place called Höfði. So that it should be very natural that they had moved to another space where they could get more and more creative - in a little alleyway in Grettisgata, Reykjavik, they composed almost all of material for the self-titled album.

CATERPILLARMEN released their debut album "Adopt A Monkey" in October 2009 via Brak Records, and in March 2010 they immigrated into an old dubbing studio where they're working and playing with other bands. Their second self-titled work was released in April 2010.

(Thanks to Zakarías Herman Gunnarsson for their detailed information.)

Caterpillarmen official website

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CATERPILLARMEN discography


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

3.09 | 3 ratings
Adopt A Monkey
2010
3.32 | 5 ratings
Caterpillarmen
2011
3.95 | 3 ratings
Babycum
2011

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

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CATERPILLARMEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Adopt A Monkey by CATERPILLARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Adopt A Monkey
Caterpillarmen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I love reviewing albums from bands from places that are not actually known for making progressive rock. One of them is Iceland, a country with an iconic electronic-pop singer/musician, but a country with not so renowned but great acts such as Caterpillarmen. If you are curious enough, I invite you to get their albums via Bandcamp, in the pay what you want mode. That's how I got this one, which is their debut album released in 2010 and entitled "Adopt a Monkey", which consists of six compositions that make a total time of 38 minutes.

This band delights us since their first track, with the curious title of "Sexy Shit in my Brain but Piss in my Ass". The music borders in the RIO, avant-garde with some rock and even symphonic elements, and with an inherent ironic, yet funny sound in some moments. I like the raw, strong sound of the bass and how it is accompanied by a softer keyboard scheme; the vocals also play an important role here.

"Ode to Aleister Crowley" starts soft with a gentle and friendly keyboard sound, later it makes an explosion and a new structure is being built. The keyboards don't disappear, and now they are complemented by drums, bass and vocals. After three minutes there is a change, a moment of thinking, a passage of suspense.

"Noe the Man Can Can Can't Not Cat" starts with only a guitar playing repetitive notes, later bass and drums join. The music reminds me of Gentle Giant in moments, later with the vocals I cannot help but thinking of the early Pink Floyd, in the Barrett era. This song is nice overall, however I feel there are some weaker moments where I lost interest a little bit, in the final minute it returns to its best form, and finishes like that.

"Cloverhead" starts with a bass, later vocals and keyboard create that funny and ironic sound (here is where I answer Zappa, does humor belong in music? Yes) The symphonic sound is evident here due to the keyboards, in moments reminding me of some of those 90s-00s Nordic bands.

"Idle Hands / Monkey See Monkey Do" is the longest track here with 11 minutes length. The first two minutes have vocals, a slow rhythm with nice drums and strings. Later there is a minute of silence, and then little by little new elements are added by keyboards, creating a brief spacey moment. After four minutes the best part arrives when a chaotic, fast and explosive symphonic-RIO sound is implemented, this brief moment might actually be my favorite from the whole album. Later the song continues, with different mini-passages and an attractive structure. The last track is "End Now", just a 40-second intense piece with a repetitive rhythm and nice sudden changes.

A nice debut from these Icelandic men, though it is not a truly memorable album (sorry if I am being harsh) it is good without a doubt, so as I mentioned earlier, if you can, go to their site and get their music. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Babycum by CATERPILLARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Babycum
Caterpillarmen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars Caterpillarmen are an Icelandic band who I have only recently heard. It must have been a suggestion on the PA forums that made me write down a note with the band's name and 'bandcamp' next to it. (I come across notes I made like that all the time). So recently I watched some YouTube vids and found the band to be as wacky and crazy as I expected them to be. Both good things, btw. So I decided to check out one of their albums on Bandcamp. The album I listened to was this one, Babycum. I had a feeling that this album had not been added yet. My intuition turned out to be right, so I added the album myself.

Okay, let's talk about that title...ugh. There's a song here called "Penetration Baby" and another called "In My Baby". All these provocative titles remind me of the name of the first Residents EP, Baby Sex. These guys are extremely goofy and their titles should be taken tongue-in-cheek. Welcome to the wacky world of avant-prog folks! These guys are a quartet of the guitar / bass / drums / keyboards variety. The keyboard and guitar playing really stands out. Generally the music is rockin' with diverse influences.

The album starts with "Siggi" which is some kind of math rock/circus music hybrid. "Kalli" begins as avant symphonic prog. Love the organ here. The tempo keeps increasing at one point. Just single notes for awhile, with a big gap between each one. Then vocals with a laid-back ballad style of musical backing. Then that section starts to increase in tempo and gets louder. At the end is an interesting sound effect; it sounds like something spinning really fast on guitar strings. "Penetration Baby" starts out as a stereotypical blues number. Then it goes into a bluesy reggae groove. Later changes to a kind of math rock boogie. Ends as some sort of avant symphonic math rock.

"Pop (like a balloon)" is a bluesy stoner rock type song. The cliche "baby, baby, baby" here just works perfectly. I love these guys sense of humour. At one point the music stops and somebody yells some naughty words. I don't have the right computer program to make the following letters look correct (so any Scandinavians reading this forgive me), so... "Dodludans" starts out in stoner rock style with some goofy sounding synth. The synth playing turns into a great solo later. Goes into symph prog style with great organ. The music fades out and then you hear that spinning sound effect again, but it gets slowed down at the very end of the song.

The 15 1/2 minute closer "?" opens with jazzy electric piano and stereotypical blues singing doing gibberish. Lots of start/stop playing at the beginning before it goes into a rockin' groove, with some lovely electric piano interrupting it here and there. Vocals during this part. Gets mellow and spacey for awhile. Love the distorted electric piano at one point. Starts rocking out by going up and down the scales before changing to ELP style symph prog. Then switches to dissonant avant-rock. Later vocals in a harder-edged prog style. The music stops near the end then some minimal organ playing and random sounds. Rockin' symph prog to end it.

I really enjoyed this album and want to hear their other albums. It's hard to say who to recommend this to but fans of humourous avant-prog should enjoy it. If you like your avant- prog rocking and guitar-oriented, that's a bonus. It's nice to know there are new bands out there who are trying to make their own sound. I give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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 Caterpillarmen by CATERPILLARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.32 | 5 ratings

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Caterpillarmen
Caterpillarmen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Great and interesting RIO!

I am always happy when I discover new and talented bands who have something interesting to share, and I am also happy when those bands come from countries that musically talking are not really familiar to me. This time I came across this curious and original band from Iceland named Caterpillarmen, who started playing some years ago and released a first album last year (2010), and a second one this year (2011) which (thanks to them) I could download and of course enjoy.

Their avant-garde tendencies are clear, I assume that they are familiar with some older RIO and even Zeuhl acts, or at least, that is what I believe judging by their sound. This album entitled "Caterpillarmen" features 8 compositions and a total time of 33 minutes, I would have loved a couple of songs more here, but well, it was their decision.

They are a four-member band playing the "basic" instruments: guitars, bass, keys, drums. This is an instrumental band, for sure. So the album kicks off with "Party" which shows a definitely weird and avant-gardish guitar sound, and a strong bass sound that in moments reminds me to the zeuhl ones. "Defeat" starts like the end of a live-performance, and then little by little they are creating a quirky, not easy to digest or understand, but in the end a cool track. As I've read, they have King Crimson as an influential band (who doesn't?) and I believe they do have some hints of them.

"Revenge" is definitely one of the highlights here, with interesting and intelligently structured pauses, changes and explosions, showing the creativity and skills of the musicians. I love those moments of tension when it definitely stops and just a kind of limbo sound remains. "Parteyh!" is like the continuation of the previous track, the weird sound prevails but now some kind of enthusiastic or hyperactive music is created. I imagine someone getting addicted by this, and running like a crazy man from one place to another, haha.

"Now the Man" and "Dreaming" are both the shortest tracks off this album, reaching less than three minutes. The first one is like a game, a piece divided in thousand pieces that are being drop off by the different instruments, until all together sound and create a wonderful unstructured chaos. At half the song it changes and now it does have a rhythm and a style, a curious one that may put you in a positive mood. The second one has a softer and relaxing sound, with the surprising addition of some vocals, this track reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd's More era.

"Nos the Man Super Mega Time" is one of their best moments here without a doubt. An original and challenging track that in moments seems to have lost its goal, but that always is recovered. You may think that they are a jam session band, but actually they do have a well composed and accurately performed track. The last track is "Re-Re-Remix" which honestly in my opinion was not the best choice as a closer song, I would have preferred something any of the previous tracks, this is just a weird but not that cool moment to fill the album.

However, this is a worth checking album, and better said, a worth checking band, with interesting things to share. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Caterpillarmen by CATERPILLARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.32 | 5 ratings

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Caterpillarmen
Caterpillarmen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars At the bottom of their website I noticed a combination of 3 tags that said "Iceland monkey prog". I think that is the best way to sum up the music on "Caterpillarmen". I understood this to be an RIO group before listening to this album, which usually makes me wary about any group. But, also, it was free to listen to. So, there.

Caterpillarmen play the type of RIO that isn't incessantly dissonant or noisy, and they're not one of those awesome electro-acoustic avant groups. I'd liken this music to Jack Dupon or Jean Louis, in that it is odd and disjointed, playful and goofy, and heavy and driving. The musicianship is great from what I can tell, and that is further emphasized by the fact that this album was recorded as two live takes.

The bands states that this album is based on a theme of monkeys invading human parties, getting defeating, taking revenge and starting a party of there own. Seems like a strong enough concept, but there are no lyrics so this is purely a soundtrack affair. The music goes great with that theme, though.

I can't seem to find anything that stands out in this music really, because I don't particularly have an ear for RIO/avant prog. The band does occasionally lock into a very jam-band sounding groove, which is something I feel that Caterpillar men could benefit from utilizing more - it would lengthen the compositions and create a space for the members to show off their chops in a more controlled manner.

As I said earlier, this album would best suit fans of Jean Louis of Jack Dupon. Otherwise, this might not be for you.

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 Caterpillarmen by CATERPILLARMEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.32 | 5 ratings

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Caterpillarmen
Caterpillarmen RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars Rebirth of Samla Mammas Manna in this world?

As honestly I say, I cannot realize they were born as a simple and typical blues rock band. Deep and heavy riffs and delightful grooves can slightly remind me kinda blues flavour, but their core of sound is exactly elaborate RIO structure in their second eponymous album. They say they've been much influenced by King Crimson, and everybody can feel something versatile like them in Discipline period - especially the second track "Defeat", with heavy, a bit stoner guitar riffs based on deep bass and drums, sounds just like Larks Tongue In Aspic series.

However, let me say, their progression and soundscape under their mind depth are not only a monkey story but also another Samla Mammas Manna - I'm sure you can understand with listening to their fourth track "Parteyh!" (superb palpitation in the beginning is beyond expression!) or the middle part of the previous one "Revenge" - with complex tempos and flexible mixture of rigidity and softness, sometimes bizarreries, much compatible with Samla, a pleasant sound garden.

"Dreaming" is another bluesy, but amazing roller coaster - their slight sincere and tragic atmosphere (that cannot always be seen) is very impressive, and rolling, driving the sound can create terrific tension. On the contrary, like a toy-box song, "Now The Man" is Crimson-like eclectic kink blended with pure avantgarde structure upon the former half ? there are various sound elements in it definitely.

"Now The Man Super Mega Time" (what does it mean?) may be the closest to RIO, as the first shot "Party" can be, I suggest. Persistent, cynical music phrases spin round with fuzzy, tricky guitar jabs and fanatic, kaleidoscopic rhythm section explosions. Guess it may be okay to mention that their brilliant gems can be stuffed into this song? The last "Re-Re-Remix" might be their funny joke (but it should have definitely RIO essence) methinks.

Their strong intention for progressive rock and subliminal spice for RIO (also the latter is excellent in spite of themselves) exist in such a influential manner.

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