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RIO/AVANT-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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RIO/Avant-Prog definition

Avant-Prog

Avant-prog is an umbrella term which refers to any progressive rock artist with a strong leaning towards avant-garde and highly experimental approaches to music. Therefore, it includes the sub-genres of Rock In Opposition (see below) and Zeuhl in addition to general avant-prog artists.

Avant-prog is generally considered to be more extreme and 'difficult' than other forms of progressive rock, though these terms are naturally subjective and open to interpretation. Common elements that may or may not be displayed by specific avant-prog artists include:

- Regular use of dissonance and atonality.
- Extremely complex and unpredictable song arrangements.
- Free or experimental improvisation.
- Fusion of disparate musical genres.
- Polyrhythms and highly complex time signatures.

Most avant-prog artists are highly unique and eclectic in sound and consequently tend to resist easy comparisons. However, Frank Zappa is often cited as a major influence on many avant-prog artists due to his early adoption of avant-garde and experimental attitudes within a predominantly rock/jazz context.


Rock In Opposition

Rock In Opposition (RIO for short) is the name of a short-lived movement that has gone on to define a sub-genre of progressive rock, and which is now sometimes applied to musicians whose careers hadn't even started by the time the movement had ceased to exist in any official capacity. It is not synonymous with the term avant-prog, for whilst bands associated with RIO are (generally speaking) avant-prog in nature, most avant-prog bands are not associated with RIO.

The roots of RIO can be traced to Henry Cow, a UK progressive rock band with a distinctly avant-garde sound and left wing political ideology. Henry Cow toured extensively in Europe throughout much of the 1970s and came into contact with a few similarly inclined bands, in an ideological sense as much, if not more, than a musical one. These groups did not always have much in common stylistically, apart from a basic leaning towards fusing avant-garde qualities with elements of rock. Most of these bands were working independently at the time and had no distribution or realistic opportunity of touring outside their native countries. The idea of Rock In Opposition was to create an independent network of like-minded performers that would not be dependent on the largesse of major record companies for their survival.

Henry Cow invited four of these bands to play alongside them at the first Rock in Opposition festival on 12th March 1978, at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane in London. The British Arts Council helped the funding of the festival with a ú1000 grant. The Rock in Opposition slogan "The music the record companies don't want you to hear" was altered very slightly for the flyer advertising the first Rock in Opposition concert.

The five initial Rock in Opposition bands were:

Henry Cow (England)
Univers Zero (Belgium)
Etron Fou Leloublan (France)
Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden)
Stormy Six (Italy)

Three additional bands were later officially elected to the movement:

Art Zoyd (France)
Art Bears (England)
Aksak Maboul (Belgium)

The involved bands had many disagreements in a meeting at Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Switzerland in December 1978 about the purpose of the group, and its meaning. They eventually came up with a plan to continue their joint concerts. They organised three more festivals and co-operative record distributions but eventually the RIO group dissolved. It left behind a legacy that would initially be picked up by later projects from the many musicians involved with the original movement, and later on by artists inspired by the original RIO groups. Miriodor and Ensemble Nimbus are often said to be influenced by Samla Mammas Manna, for example, and are consequently sometimes referred to as RIO bands.

Since 2007, a contemporary RIO festival has been held most years in Carmaux, France. This festival has included artists closely associated with the original RIO movement alongside bands from the wider world of avant-prog and experimental music.

Dates of the original RIO festivals

12 March 1978 at New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London, England (set up by Henry Cow)
26 April 1979 to 1 May 1979 at Teatro dell'Elfo, Milano, Italia (set up by Stormy Six)
28/29 September 1979 in Uppsala, Sweden (set up by Samla Mammas Manna)
Bruxelles, Belgium (set up by Univers Zero)

Useful links

Information on RIO from Chris Cutler's website

Additional historical information on Squidco

Written/Compiled/Edited by past and present members of the RIO/Avant-Prog team

Current team members:
as at 02/02/2014

Steve (HolyMoly)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ori (frippism)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)

RIO/Avant-Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 RIO/Avant-Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.33 | 986 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.33 | 521 ratings
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 546 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.34 | 108 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.30 | 160 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.29 | 193 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.26 | 270 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.43 | 47 ratings
ZABRANJENO PLAKATIRATI
Buldozer
4.26 | 179 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.34 | 65 ratings
JEAN LOUIS
Jean Louis
4.26 | 144 ratings
UNIVERS ZERO (1313)
Univers Zero
4.24 | 182 ratings
M┼LTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.52 | 26 ratings
SIRENS AND SILENCES/WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER
News From Babel
4.38 | 42 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.52 | 25 ratings
H─XAN
Art Zoyd
4.55 | 23 ratings
SCAMBOT 1
Keneally, Mike
4.22 | 134 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.29 | 64 ratings
U TOTEM
U Totem
4.17 | 427 ratings
WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY
Zappa, Frank
4.25 | 83 ratings
BARBARO (MA NON TROPPO)
Present

RIO/Avant-Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the RIO/Avant-Prog experts team

ENSEMBLE HAVADI└
Ensemble HavadiÓ
VEUILLEZ PROCEDER
Rouge Ciel
GRAVITY
Frith, Fred
LACRYMOSA (AKA BUGBEAR)
Lacrymosa

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Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Chunga's Revenge by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.36 | 203 ratings

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Chunga's Revenge
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To say that you don't like Frank Zappa is like saying you don't like food. There are thousands, millions of dishes to eat (or try) world wide and there are a plethora of musical styles to discover when it comes to Zappa. Never standing still too long on the same spot, ever moving, ever progressing. With that said, I need to point out that not all Zappa, as with food, is to your taste or personal preference. However, I am of the most certain mind when saying that anyone into prog is able to find at least one album to love and enjoy. That is the case for me. I cannot claim to love all of Zappas enormous production. I cannot even claim to love half of it. I care for only a fragment of all these albums on the market.The best of these fragments is the underrated (in my opinion) Chunga's revenge.

Funnily enough, this album was the first I bought. When I decided to explore Zappa back in the 1990's I decided upon this one. I knew there were other albums proclaimed to be his masterworks but I chanced on this one, giggling at the cover and that odd title. I could not have picked a better album to start off with at that particular time and Chunga's revenge is still my favorite, both by musical standards aswell as nostalgic reasons.

It must be said, that Chunga's revenge probably is one of Zappas most accessible albums. There are very few hard nuts to crack. It is, basically, a collection of great semi-progressive tunes leaning towards an array of styles. Anything from jazz and eastern moods to ballads and hard rock. Though being a highly varied album it never looses the focus and the result is a very tight and cohesive record. It has some loose and laidback grooves, reminding me of the late 1960's jamming found on many an album. It is inspired and groovy, played with a lot of joy and love of music.

I think that the best songs are the eastern flavored "Transylvania boogie", the hard rock of "Tell me you love me" and the concluding "Sharleena". The tracks in between are very enjoyable as well and provides a wonderful template of moods and styles. This album proves that Zappa really could take a bite off of anything and create the most extraordinary music.

One often reads about the guitar of Frank Zappa and on Chunga's revenge it is ever so wonderful. He manages to be both masterful and raucious, a combination not always found in guitar wizards.

All in all, Chunga's revenge is a wonderful rock album with progressive leanings. It is not overly complex. Instead it is a collection of quite easily digestable and enjoyable songs with great variation. It is still my favorite and if you want to find a starting point where the humour, irony and craziness is a bit subdued in favor of musical seriousness (without being boring, naturally) this might be a good place to start.

 Roxy By Proxy by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2014
4.92 | 5 ratings

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Roxy By Proxy
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

5 stars The splendor of this album was almost obsured by the clumsy handling of this release by the Zappa Family Trust.

For years , the ZFT has been teasing us with hints and rumors of the eventual unveiling of the legendary Roxy video footage. With more and more statements that the video was near, this album was marketed as a hint of things to come. So just put it out there already.

First, in order to fund the Roxy video project, licenses were sold to investors, who were to receive master copies of the album and packaging, with the rights to sell their own copies. At the end of last summer, fans who could not afford the high cost of the investment could pre-order the album from the Zappa.com web site (sort of a slap to those who wanted to recover their investment).

Then came a comedy of missed release dates, where a week or so after every announced shipping date, a new schedule was announced. Investors and pre-order customers vented their frustration at Zappa.com and other fan sites.

Finally, in March, the disk shipped. Luckily for the ZFT, ratings are for the actual product, not the circumstances around the realease.

To many of us, Roxy & Elsewhere is one of the pinnacles of Frank Zappa's career. The band he assembled, featuring Ruth Underwood, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey, Tom and Bruce Fowler, George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock was possibly the most impressive of FZ storied touring groups. And the original Roxy album, although heavily overdubbed, is a stellar work of genius.

This album, taken from the two Roxy shows in December 1973 has some of the same titles as the classic album, but the overlapping tracks are mostly from alternate shows. At most, there may be a few edited sections that FZ spliced in the Elsewhere album.

Of interest to Zappaphiles: "Inca Roads" is somewhere between the loose, light version as heard on "A Token Of His Extreme" and the "One Size Fits All" fusion wonder. A percussion-only "Cheepnis" gives a view of the inner workings of that song. And a rollicking medley of "King Kong", "Chunga's Revenge" and "Mr. Green Genes" closes the set.

The above tracks, and the overall amazing performance, tempered by the oh so slightly deteriorated tone of the tapes, and the flurry of other recent releases of this lineup would have been cause for a four star rating.

But this album is boosted by possibly the best liner notes ever written. Ruth Underwood has resurfaced and supplied twenty pages of in depth analysis of each song and performance. Her detailed descriptions of what it was like playing these almost impossible works, the interplay between FZ and the band, and between band members themselves, gives a rare, but highly emotional glimpse of the experience of this incredible group.

Reading along as the music is playing is as close as you can get to being on stage at those historic shows.

So 5 stars it is.

 Hot Rats by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.33 | 986 ratings

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Hot Rats
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Prog 74

4 stars I'm not typically a Frank Zappa fan, but I love this album. Perhaps it's because on this album Zappa gets down to business. No satire. No juvenile songs. Just music. And on this album Zappa really plays his ass off. Absolutely phenomenal! He shreds like a madman! I really think Zappa could have given Jimi Hendrix a run for his money if he choose to play guitar like this all the time. Sure, this is a jazz-rock album. One of the first of it's kind actually. But, the emphasis here is more on the rock then on the jazz. Yes, it's a bit quirky. But, what Zappa album isn't? Only one song features any vocals, 'Willie the Pimp', and those are courtesy of Captain Beefheart (who I generally cannot stand). However, here Captain Beefheart just sounds like an old bluesman and is not too annoying. My personal favorite song on the album is 'The Gumbo Variations'. Zappa is on fire here! Just some really amazing guitar work. 'Peaches en Regalia' is another highlight and has a really lovely melody. Something you don't typically say of a Zappa tune. For those of you typically put off by Zappa's weirdness and his juvenile antics give this album a try. It's still a little off-beat, but in a pleasant way. A great addition to any prog-rock collection.
 Unrest by HENRY COW album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.43 | 103 ratings

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Unrest
Henry Cow RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by claugroi

1 stars This is the first time I rate an album 1-star. The reason is that it deserves so. This album goes against everything I consider to be music. And I'm not even talking about GOOD music, but music in general. It seems to me that the guys arrived in the studio and said "Ok, let's record a new album. Hit anything that makes any noise, but be sure not to hit it with rhythm. Let's make the most chaotic music ever".

No sense of rhythm and melody are to be found here. Also, the sounds are too dissonant. One thing is producing a very jazzy album with sparse and light instrumentation or an eclectic prog album with lots of counterpoint and dissonant layers, but this goes beyond that. It really trespasses the limits of music and becomes sheer torture.

Some reasonable moments do exist, but only for some seconds. For instance, the piano intro of Half Asleep, Half Awake and some oboe or bassoon notes here and there, but most of it is pure improvisation with no goal at all. It seems they just turned the mics on and played anything, literally anything. That's not music to my ears. Music should be a sincere and deep expression of one's artistic inner feelings. There's a big difference between that and making any noise you can. Not even Solemn Music and Bittern Storm Over Ulm, which are the ones that resemble actual songs the most, are enjoyable.

I'm really sorry for this rating. I know some people like this (some even rated it 5 stars, a huge blasphemy in my opinion) and I tend to recognise a band's effort even in the poorest albums, but I just can't stand this.

Some people might say to me I need some time to understand this album and, consequently, enjoy it. Well, I've been listening to this record since 2009 and I don't think I should give it any more tries. I guess I just don't like it and that's it.

All in all, a very dark and unpleasant album. Stay away from it.

 Cobra Fakir by MIRIODOR album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.78 | 49 ratings

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Cobra Fakir
Miriodor RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 styars really!!

Yet another line-up change for Miriodor, who reverts (temporarily) to a trio format, but in the studio, it makes little difference as all three members play many different instruments, this time including turntables, though you won't be hearing any hip-hop. However the album's title is somewhat misleading as it could induce one into thinking that the band explored the Asian subcontinent's music. Alas! If there are some Indian music elements, they're probably integrated too subtly for my not-so- inexperienced ears, but AFAIAC, I heard none in this album. Actually, we're heading in the opposite direction from what their previous album, Avanti had led us. Can we talk of a step backwards? Of course not, we are on more familiar grounds than Avanti had us, and one can only regret it.

If the first few numbers hover around the usual Miriodor sonics ("yet again", one could almost say), things are gradually changing with the help of the turntable effects and the overall soundscapes and moods are getting heavier and moodier. By the half of the album, you'll think a few times of Crimson, but it gets even deeper, in a "UZ crossed with Pink-era Tangerine Dream" sense but with that typical Miriodor touch. And what to say of the album's closing piece, which is simply stupendous, almost having you beg for more of the same; while at the album's early stages, you were despairing for something new. While I definitely prefer their previous Avanti, Cobra is certainly one of their better one, but mainly so because of its second half.

 Templars-In Sacred Blood by ZORN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.44 | 7 ratings

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Templars-In Sacred Blood
John Zorn RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by werbinox

5 stars This is the sixth release by John Zorn's Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton - Vocals, Trevor Dunn - Bass, Joey Baron - Drums) here augmented by John Medeski on Organ. Probably the most 'accessible' of all the Moonchild discs, it is still not for everyone. Not even most people. Mike Patton's chainsaw banshee wailing and screaming can clear a room in a heartbeat, and even inspire anger in some. If you have a sense of humor and an appreciation for unconventional vocals, he can be endlessly entertaining, funny, and astoundingly creative. The first Moonchild release, Songs Without Words, set the template for the five to follow, with Patton contributing non-verbal glossolalia-like Ur- Language vocalizations, screams, grunts, growls and mouth noises, over complex, unpredictable, at times chaotic sounding rhythmic excursions by Trevor Dunn's distorted bass and Joey Baron's inexhaustibly creative drumming. 'Six Litanies for Heliogabalus' arguably represents a pinnacle of this approach. 'Templars: In Sacred Blood' however, bucks the trend and takes a decisive step towards structure, and employs actual words for the first time on any Moonchild release. It is in fact as close to what one might call 'Prog Rock' as any work Zorn has ever produced, though still laced liberally with his characteristic, RIO-ish, free jazz approach to sonic chaos.

This music is thick with brooding, medieval atmospheres, as befits the subject matter - the legend of the Knights Templars, and their accusation by the Catholic Church of Baphomet / Devil Worship, which subsequently led to their persecution and near extinction (allegedly so that the Church could get the 'treasure' they thought the Knights had supposedly acquired) John Medeski's organ paints mysterious swaths of darkness in candle-lit monastic hallways over Baron and Dunn's jazzy rhythms while Patton whispers impressionistic poetry about alchemy and magick, alternating between Latin and English, suddenly lurching into dissonant, King Crimson-ish blasts of metal, Patton shrieking and screaming and roaring words of "murder!" "flames!" "rupture!" It is this characteristic see-sawing between delicate impressionistic medieval jazz and barbaric metal noise slabs that cause some to consider this 'more accessible' than the other ones (consistent structure as opposed to constant chaos) yet, as I discovered to my consternation, disturbs others to the breaking point. A couple of songs nearly sent my girlfriend into an anxiety attack. I thought she would appreciate the quiet sections, but nope, they just made her more nervous, waiting for the screaming to come back around. I cant play it for her anymore. Considering it involves both John Zorn and Mike Patton it was probably hopeless from the start!

This is the first Zorn disc I have ever fully loved, and I bought all the previous Moonchild discs because of it. To my ears, his music has never before been so arranged, so focused in its effect. He has the best musicians here to help him. Trevor Dunn and Joey Baron can do anything they want with bass and drums, and the addition of Medeski's organ adds an indescribable and unexpected beauty. For me, the music is never better than when Patton is reciting Zorn's graphic and evocative poetry (inspired by and dedicated to the works of Edgar Varese, Antonin Artaud, and Aleister Crowley) over the swirling vortex of sound this ensemble creates. Patton is the best, most interesting, most versatile vocalist around, and his wordless screaming and gibberish on "Heliogabalus' is a listening experience like no other, yet his effect here is intensified even further by the rhythmic / phonetic demands of reciting actual words over this music.

For the musically adventurous this is one of those great coaster rides that must be experienced all the way through. But the feint of heart beware: there is some dark, powerful magick at work in this music. Careful what you think about as you listen, for it may give you the power to manifest it, as befits, I suspect, Zorns' will and purpose.

 Al Filo by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.99 | 9 ratings

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Al Filo
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars J.L. Fernandez Ledezma's "Al Filo" (2002), is intricate and enticing. It will be a shame to just pin it down to a specific "tagging".

Song writing progresses in each track to opposite moods. From the "dark" chorales of "Las Siete Columnas" its first track, to an immediate change of pace with the beautiful single acoustic guitar composition "Presencias". Both worlds come togethet in its third track "Oniromante", where all time collaborator Margarita Botello displays her talents in "invisible" singing. "Espejismo" the fourth track, as its name suggests, is an almost ethereal track, full of minimal hypnotic structures, which turns to be an exquisite background for both electric and acoustic guitars to come forward and then just vanish. These songs could be enjoyed by any kind of Prog-audiophile.

Next comes the mysterious 5th track "El Triangulo" this one is closer to electronic/acoustic experimentations. What makes it tick, is the extraordinary structure constructed solely with long flowing flute notes and menacing eerie lament like choruses, which makes it quiet clear why this musician was included in the RiO/AV prog sub-genre.

As the tormentous sky clears away, comes "Ojo de Venado" the sixth track, a more dynamic even festive song, with a blend of up-front Rock and a rain of not very Rock likely instruments vanishing all borders with his always great sense of musical composition and arrangements. The heavy 'RiO" bass is delightful.

After the "party" things slow down again in probably the most beautiful song along with track 2, "Las Cuatro Imagenes" ("The Four Images") the seventh track. Its minimal intrumentation brings it close to the best kind of "ambient" music. Again the marvelous voice choruses, the recurring guitar theme into a parallel harmonic environment even more "naked" than its introduction, but with the howling grief of a distant sax and its counterpointing sister flute. As the song evolves the "third" image" appears, to shower the track with an up-beat rhythm and "close to heaven" musical arrangements and song writing. To wave the day goodbye comes along the ephemeral dark closure, the "fourth image". Full of chaotic yet distant choruses. The 5 star song of this project .

To end things up track 8 "El Enyerbao", a mixture of prog/electronics and "native" music, which sounds as an extremely refined ritualisic "Residents" tribute. Short and fun.

I highly recommend this album to any follower of prog, but with a taste for the Avant Garde!

****4+ my review, PA stars.

 Phosphorescent Dreams by UNIVERS ZERO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.03 | 30 ratings

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Phosphorescent Dreams
Univers Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A new Univers Zero album is always worth paying attention to, and in this case the revived band have won me over in a way which The Hard Quest didn't manage to accomplish. Here, the clarinet and other woodwind instruments of Kurt BudÚ add a softer side to the band's music which doesn't really fit most listeners' impressions of Univers Zero as a terrifying musical chamber of horrors, but it actually suits the more contemplative direction the band steer the music in here. Not out to scare for the sake of spookiness here, the group even (to my ears) draw on the gentler side of the Canterbury sound in spots to create a better balance between heavy, foreboding material and more charming stuff.
 Pop Tatari by BOREDOMS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.82 | 19 ratings

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Pop Tatari
Boredoms RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

3 stars My second experience of the BOREDOMS is their third studio album POP TATARI. The band managed to garner a lot of attention by working with John Zorn and even made friends with Sonic Youth with whom they toured. They also snagged a few gigs with Nirvana and even got a major label to sign them. This is widely deemed one of the strangest albums ever to be released by a major label but since Warner Brothers also signed Mr Bungle it seems that they had their pulse on the underground of the early 90s.

Well, as usual the BOREDOMS offer a glimpse into the musically insane. They excel in trying to find the most irritating things that they can think up in a musical context and then develop it and turn it up to 11. The album begins with 30 seconds of some high pitches that usher in even more over-the-top musical antics to follow. Basically as i've already stated, the BOREDOMS are like a bunch of over-caffeinated kids who have also been downing lots of sugary snacks and are bouncing off the walls in every direction they can think of. Ironically this album seems to have a lot more cohesive "normal" songs in the sense that at least everyone is playing together albeit screaming their heads off with a noisy punk guitar riff extravaganza.

This is deemed one of their best albums of their early years but personally I don't think it's nearly as daring and out there as CHOCOLATE SYNTHESIZER which I prefer to this, however, this one has plenty of avant-garde craziness on hand as well and when it comes to this kind of sonic stew it is really hard to judge what is better than what when it's all so far removed from any musical experience you have encountered. I have only listened to this a couple times and perhaps it's a grower but for right now it's a little less interesting to me than the album that follows. It is still recommended for the musically adventurous who savor the most unorthodox craziness they could possibly find. Look no further than the BOREDOMS it's just that they take it further on CHOCOLATE and if i'm gonna go for crazy I want the full shebang.

 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 11 ratings

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Bath Salts
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Beneath the surface

Funny how such mundane and everyday words like bath salts suddenly can take on another meaning altogether. A little while back there was an incident in Miami, where a poor homeless man got his face bitten off by a drug fuelled raving lunatic, who indeed was tripping like an angry bear on the now infamous drug: bath salts. Since then 100s of videos have popped on YouTube relegating arbitrary people on this terrifying drug - most of them looking like they're on fire, possessed by some demon or merely trying to escape their earthly prison, clawing away at their own flesh like was it thick evil goo in the process of poisoning everything it comes in contact with.

I then read Claudio Milano's lyrics to 'Bath Salts' and found an extremely intelligent man asking questions about our nature - our human nature, or conversely the lack of it when confronted by the great big wheels of the world......the things that stem from cold machine feelings and parameters set up by ancient peoples trying their best to keep everything in check and that means people too. So there's a sadness here - a pensive mind eating away at the facial layers of our society, how we choose to succumb to rules, ideas and the things we don't understand.....and in the midst of all this, we're in serious danger of losing ourselves and the things that make us human. We erase the child and order a new person - an adult fixed and ready to go surfing in the huge big boy world, where everything depends on everything else, and nothing is as clear cut and real like it used to be.

Swish! Twinkling harp rivers of sound that stream and twirl oh so beautifully and naturally, you simply get transported into the grand scope of Italy's immense musical universe - 1000s of famous landscape paintings zoom through your brain, and then he opens his mouth.....

Claudio Milano is not so much a singer as he is an instrument made out of flesh. To tell you the truth, I was actually approaching this offering thinking it would sound like modern rocking avant music, but what I found in it's place was an overpowering sense of frailty and natural beauty. Claudio's often compared to the infamous Area front man Demetrio Stratos, because of his incredible talent to sing controllably in 8 different octaves. As I have found out while swapping emails with the man in question, his real and most important influence is actually Tim Buckley. Now that struck a chord with me, when he said that. I suddenly realised the frailty of the voice, the sometimes strangely wavering tonalities of his timbre, all of that sounded very much influenced by Buckley, only with Claudio you get a far more velvety delivery. Whether that's down to the beautiful Italian language, or the immense technical talent of his, I really don't know.......but there is something here folks, I'll tell ya. If you're sick of munching on the same ol same ol - in dire need of a healthy kick up your arse, then look no further, because this album will take you places in Italy you haven't even dreamed of.

I believe the progressive prog stopped a long while ago and somewhere along the line it morphed into a sticker that we nowadays interpret as music with mellotron, shape-shifts, solos and a mystic aura about it that peeps right into your soul. Well maybe not stopped completely, but if we're looking for the brand new and (sic) progressive, then why do we insist on looking in the same places as we always do? We certainly won't find 'Bath Salts' sporting any of the aforementioned holy essences of prog rock........but you find the spark. You find the same urge to make music that stretches people's sonic beliefs and will to embrace the alien. Make you think and experience something you take for granted and make you see things from a new place. Music is always ready to mislead you, and if you're wise you should allow it every chance you get.

Strange thing.....I mean music that can have this effect on me being this.....erm orchestrated. Maybe it's the supernatural surge of the vocals that entrances you with this album, but I'd like to think it's more than that. There is an immense dream world lurking in the instruments - something that takes on the form of ambient music, often put up against Claudio's slithering voice. Maybe this is more of a chamber music kinda deal? With marimbas and xylophones, acoustic string instruments and a frivolous and almost classically structured folk element in the mix, the music moves from intimate shimmers to the widest panoramic musical scenery known to man........and then I haven't even begun to mention the electronics in play - or the wonderful bass booms of the cellos.

'Bath Salts' is like opening up a musical box. It spins gracefully on it's own axis while relegating this beautiful feathery music that pirouettes and twinkles away like silver and gold and everything worth fighting for.

"Is there anyone now who can bite my beauty? Is there anyone now who can suck my beauty? Is there anyone now who can lick my beauty?"

Maybe we're so far gone that cannibalism is the last resort to really get under people's skin? To me personally, 'Bath Salts' feels like a modern voice of reason - beckoning people from deep beneath the ice - calling on them to break through the dark mirror and penetrate down into the murky waters. Dive head first into what drives us and feeds us, instead of merely perpetuating the everlasting ice- skating procedures that look oh so pretty and meaningful.........yet never describe anything about the true nature of what's hiding underneath. In that respect, you could say that 'Bath Salts' tries to reintroduce it's audience to the chilly waters slushing away under the ice like forgotten dreams and cobwebs of the mind. It wants you to see past the big hand gestures and feel the music for what it is.....and maybe in the process we'll be able to transcribe this method of experiencing life to other facets of our world.

Data cached

RIO/Avant-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1870 (MIL OCHOCIENTOS SETENTA) Mexico
3 MICE Multi-National
5UU'S United States
THE A BAND United Kingdom
A CLEAN KITCHEN IS A HAPPY KITCHEN Belgium
A-MUSIK Japan
A.P.A.T.T. United Kingdom
ABSOLUTE ZERO United States
AFENGINN Denmark
AFTER DINNER Japan
AFUCHE United States
AHLEUCHATISTAS United States
AHVAK Israel
AKINETËN RETARD Chile
AKSAK MABOUL Belgium
ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Finland
ALFIE RYNER France
ALTERED STATES Japan
AMOEBIC EMSEMBLE United States
ANATROFOBIA Italy
APPENDIX Slovakia
ARANIS Belgium
ARBETE OCH FRITID Sweden
THE ARCHESTRA Belarus
ARKTIS/AIR Austria
ARMON KUILU Finland
ART BEARS United Kingdom
ART FLEURY Italy
ART MOULU France
ART ZOYD France
ARTERIA Mexico
ATHANOR France
ATOMIC APE United States
BABLICON United States
BANDA EL┴STICA Mexico
ARRIGO BARNAB╔ Brazil
BARNACLED United States
BARRICADE France
LES BATTERIES France
BEGNAGRAD Yugoslavia
BOB BELL Canada
BIG BLOCK 454 United Kingdom
BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC United States
BISE DE BUSE France
IVA BITTOV┴ Czech Republic
BLACK ENGINE Italy
MICHEL BLANC France
BLAST Netherlands
THE BLITZOIDS United States
BONE Multi-National
THE BOOK OF KNOTS United States
BOREDOMS Japan
FRANăOIS BREANT France
MARKO BRECELJ Yugoslavia
BREZNEV FUN CLUB Italy
HASSE BRUNIUSSON Sweden
BULDOZER Yugoslavia
BZ BZ UEU Italy
CALOMITO Italy
THE CAMBERWELL NOW United Kingdom
CAPILLARY ACTION United States
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART United States
CARDBOARD AMANDA Multi-National
CARDIACS United Kingdom
CARTEL CARNAGE France
CARTOON United States
CASSIBER Germany
CATERPILLARMEN Iceland
CAZUELA DE CďNDOR Chile
CERBERUS SHOAL United States
CHARMING HOSTESS United States
CHEER-ACCIDENT United States
CH╩NE NOIR France
GUIGOU CHENEVIER France
CHOU PAHROT United Kingdom
CICALA-MVTA Japan
THE CLAUDIA QUINTET United States
COBRA United States
JEAN COHEN-SOLAL France
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Multi-National
COMBO FH Czech Republic
COMMUNIO MUSICA Denmark
LINDSAY COOPER United Kingdom
COSA BRAVA United States
CREEDLE United States
CRO MAGNON Belgium
CTHULHU RISE Ukraine
CUCAMONGA Argentina
CULTO SIN NOMBRE Mexico
CURLEW United States
CUTLER AND FRITH United Kingdom
CHRIS CUTLER United Kingdom
RUBEN D'HERS Venezuela
DAIMON ORCHESTRA Japan
PATRICIA DALLIO France
DANISCO (FOR BEAUTY) France
DATE COURSE PENTAGON ROYAL GARDEN Japan
DEBILE MENTHOL Switzerland
DECIBEL Mexico
DEEP SWEDEN Czech Republic
DEMI SEMI QUAVER Japan
DANIEL DENIS Belgium
THE DESERTS OF TRAUN United States
DEUS NUVEM Brazil
DIE ANARCHISTISCHE ABENDUNTERHALTUNG Belgium
DIE KNODEL Austria
DISCUS Indonesia
DOCTOR NERVE United States
BOB DRAKE United States
TOBY DRIVER United States
THE DRX United States
PASCAL DUFFARD France
DUMB WAITER United States
DUNAJ Czech Republic
TREVOR DUNN United States
DURE-M╚RE France
DUREFORSOG Denmark
EARDANCE United States
EBU GOGO United States
ELECTRIC MASADA United States
RICH WOODSON'S ELLIPSIS United States
ENCORE + GRANDE Multi-National
ENSEMBLE HAVADI└ Italy
ENSEMBLE NIMBUS Sweden
L' ENSEMBLE RAY╔ Switzerland
ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE Canada
EPN TRIO Argentina
EREHIA Mexico
ERTH Costa Rica
ESKIMO United States
ESTRADASPHERE United States
ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN France
EX-GIRL Japan
EX-P Italy
EXTRA LIFE United States
FACTOR BURZACO Argentina
PAVEL FAJT Czech Republic
BERNARD FALAISE Canada
FAMILHA ART┌S France
FANTOMAS United States
FAR CORNER United States
FAT Canada
FERDINAND RICHARD France
UN FEST═N SAGITAL Chile
FINNEGANS WAKE Belgium
FIRE! Sweden
THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS United States
FOREVER EINSTEIN United States
FORTRANGT HUSHALLSARBETE Sweden
FOTE / THE TRUTH CLUB United Kingdom
THE FRACTURED DIMENSION United States
FRENCH TV United States
FRIENDLY BEARS United States
FRED FRITH United Kingdom
FRANK-WILLIAM FROMY France
FUKKEDUK Belgium
DIAMANDA GALAS United States
GANNETS United Kingdom
GARAMOND Italy
GARGANTUA Poland
GATTO MARTE Italy
PATRICK GAUTHIER France
GEINOH YAMASHIROGUMI Japan
GESTALT ET JIVE Multi-National
GOD OF SHAMISEN United States
GODZIK PINK United States
GOLDBUG United States
GOLDEN AVANT-GARDE Japan
THE GORDON GRDINA TRIO Canada
GORGE TRIO United States
GRAMIGNA Italy
GRAND ULENA United States
LA GRANDE FORMATION Belgium
LES GRANULES Canada
GROUND ZERO Japan
GRUPPO D'ALTERNATIVA Italy
GUAPO United Kingdom
GUNJOGACRAYON Japan
GUTBUCKET United States
GUTURA France
LES HALMAS Switzerland
HAMSTER THEATRE United States
HARDSCORE Belgium
HASIDIC NEW WAVE United States
THE HAT SHOES Multi-National
CHARLES HAYWARD United Kingdom
HELLEBORE France
HEMOPHILIAC United States
HENRY COW United Kingdom
HERBE ROUGE France
HESUS ATTOR Croatia
HI-SPEED Japan
HIKASHU Japan
TIM HODGKINSON United Kingdom
LARS HOLLMER Sweden
HONEY RIDE ME A GOAT United Kingdom
HORDE CATALYTIQUE POUR LA FIN France
HORRIFIC CHILD France
HOT FUR Israel
HÍYRY-KONE Finland
HUMBLE GRUMBLE Belgium
HUNUNHUM Japan
HYRROKKIN United States
I AM ABOVE ON THE LEFT Russia
LES I France
IDIOT FLESH United States
IMAHORITSUNEOYOSHIDATATSUYA Japan
LA INCRE═BLE FUGA DE TRI┴NGULOS Argentina
INFANTEPHANT United States
L' INFONIE France
INNER EAR BRIGADE United States
INSIDE//OUTSIDE United States
INTERFERENCE SARDINES Canada
IVOR AXEGLOVITCH Denmark
JACK DUPON France
CATHERINE JAUNIAUX Belgium
JEAN LOUIS France
SCOTT JOHNSON United States
JONO EL GRANDE Norway
JORK Ireland
JAKOB JUHKAM Estonia
JULVERNE Belgium
JUNGLE Japan
JUSTINE Canada
KAADA & PATTON United States
HENRY KAISER United States
KAM-PAS-NEL-LA Multi-National
HOPPY KAMIYAMA Japan
KAREN COOPER COMPLEX United States
KARENAUTAS Argentina
KATRA TURANA Japan
KATZEN KAPELL Sweden
KAUHUKAKARA Multi-National
KAYO DOT United States
MIKE KENEALLY United States
KILLING TIME Japan
KILLSONG Australia
KLAXON GUEULE Canada
KLETKA RED Multi-National
KLIMPEREI France
THE KNELLS United States
KNOMIGON United States
KOLKHÍZE PRINTANIUM France
KOMBINAT M Austria
KOMINTERN France
KOREKYOJIN Japan
KORMORANY Poland
KOROVA MILK BAR France
KRALDJURSANSTALTEN Sweden
DAGMAR KRAUSE Germany
KROKO Finland
KRUZENSHTERN & PAROHOD Israel
KUHA. Finland
KULTUR SHOCK Multi-National
KULU HATHA MAMNUA Switzerland
L'EFFET DEFEE France
LA 1919 Italy
LACRYMOSA Japan
LARS LACH'N JONSSON Sweden
LARSEN RUPIN Switzerland
LARVAL United States
LASK Germany
LAST EXIT United States
LEAN LEFT Multi-National
LED BIB United Kingdom
JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ LEDESMA Mexico
JOHN DE LEO Italy
LIGHT COORPORATION Poland
LITAI Italy
LITTLE WOMEN United States
LOOK DE BOUK France
LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS United States
LUNAPARK ENSEMBLE Japan
LUZ DE RIADA Mexico
MACROMASSA Spain
MAESTRO TRYTONY Poland
THE MAGIC BAND United States
MAKE A RISING United States
MAMMA NON PIANGERE Italy
MAN MAN United States
MANY ARMS United States
ALBERT MARCOEUR France
MASADA United States
MASADA STRING TRIO / BAR KOKHBA United States
LE MASCHERE DI CLARA Italy
MASSACRE United States
MESMERICO Italy
METABOLIST United Kingdom
METAL-O-PHONE France
METAMORPHOSIS Czech Republic
MIASMA AND THE CAROUSEL OF HEADLESS HORSES United Kingdom
MICROKINGDOM United States
MIRIODOR Canada
MIRTHKON United States
MIZUTAMA SHOBODAN Japan
MMCIRCLE Canada
MOE! STAIANO/MOE!KESTRA! United States
MOMBU Italy
MONKEY PUZZLE TRIO United Kingdom
MOONCHILD TRIO United States
MORKOBOT Italy
MORVISCOUS United Kingdom
MOSA¤C France
MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD United States
MR. BUNGLE United States
MUCHO TAPIOCA France
THE MUFFIN MEN United Kingdom
LA MUJER BARBUDA Argentina
MUSEO HETERODOXO Peru
MUSICA D'REPUESTO Cuba
MUSICA TRANSONIC Japan
MYRBEIN Sweden
N.O.R.M.A. Italy
NAKED CITY United States
NAZCA Mexico
NE ZHDALI Estonia
NEBELNEST France
NEO Italy
NEWS FROM BABEL United States
NI France
NICHELODEON Italy
NIEW HIP STILEN Netherlands
NIMAL Switzerland
NINE TOBS Netherlands
NO SAFETY United States
NO SECRETS IN THE FAMILY Switzerland
NON CREDO United States
NOODBAND Netherlands
NOOUMENA France
NORMAL LOVE United States
NOUVELLES ETHNOLOGIQUES DE L'OBSCUR MUSEUM France
NOW WE'VE GOT MEMBERS Norway
NOXAGT Norway
NUCLEAR RABBIT United States
THE (EC) NUDES Multi-National
OCTAFISH Germany
OCTAVO France
OCTOBER EQUUS Spain
OLD TIME RELIJUN United States
OLIVE MESS Latvia
OOIOO Japan
OPABINIA Japan
OPTICAL*8 Japan
OPUS AVANTRA Italy
ORCHESTRA NJERVUDAROV Italy
THE ORDINAIRES United States
LAS OREJAS Y LA LENGUA Argentina
ORQUESTA METAF═SICA Argentina
THE ORTHOTONICS United States
OSSI DURI Italy
OTOLITHEN Multi-National
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE Japan
OXOMAXOMA Mexico
P.O.N. Japan
PABST Germany
PAINKILLER United States
PAK United States
PALINCKX Netherlands
PANZERPAPPA Norway
PAPER MICE United States
PATAPHONIE France
MIKE PATTON United States
PERFUME DE MUJER Cuba
PERHAPS CONTRAPTION United Kingdom
LA PERRA Mexico
PFS United States
PIENZA ETHNORKESTRA France
PIG SOUL Brazil
PIKAPIKA TEART Russia
PISSUK RACHAV Israel
PITOM United States
THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE Czech Republic
PLOZ Canada
POCHAKAITE MALKO Japan
POCKET ORCHESTRA United States
KIMMO POHJONEN Finland
POIL France
POKERFACE Sweden
LES POULES Canada
PRESENT Belgium
PROSESSOR BALTHAZAR Norway
PSYNKOPAT Sweden
PULSOPTIONAL United States
PUNGO Japan
PUSH THE TRIANGLE France
QUATEBRIGA Yugoslavia
QUINTORIGO Italy
RABBINICAL SCHOOL DROPOUTS United States
RADIATION10 France
RAMLOSA KVALLAR Sweden
THE RANCID YAK BUTTER TEA PARTY United States
RAPA NUI Peru
RASCAL REPORTERS United States
RATIONAL DIET Belarus
RATTLEMOUTH United States
RECREATION Belgium
RED BALUNE United Kingdom
THE RED MASQUE United States
RED NOISE France
ALEC K. REDFEARN AND THE EYESORES United States
REDRICK SULTAN Canada
REPORTAZ Poland
THE RESIDENTS United States
RESISTENCIA CHACO Argentina
LES RHINOC╔ROS United States
HARRY ROESLI Indonesia
ROUGE CIEL Canada
ROZ VITALIS Russia
SAJJANU Japan
SALLE GAVEAU Japan
SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA Sweden
SARLO AKROBATA Yugoslavia
SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO Brazil
MASAHIKO SATOH AND THE SOUNDBREAKERS Japan
DIONYSIS SAVVOPOULOS Greece
DANIEL SCHELL & KARO Belgium
THE SCIENCE GROUP Multi-National
SCORCH TRIO Finland
SEABROOK POWER PLANT United States
SEBKHA CHOTT France
SECRET CHIEFS 3 United States
SHINING Norway
SILENCIO United States
LE SILO Japan
SIR MILLARD MULCH United States
SIX CYLINDRES EN V France
SKELETON CREW United States
SLAPP HAPPY Multi-National
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM United States
SMEGMA United States
SNAKE OIL France
SNAKEFINGER United Kingdom
SNARLING ADJECTIVE CONVENTION United States
THE SOCIET└ ANONIMA DECOSTRUZIONISMI ORGANICI Italy
LA SOCIETE DES TIMIDES └ LA PARADE DES OISEAUX France
SONS OF CEPHEIDS United States
SOT Norway
SOTOS France
SPALTKLANG Switzerland
SPECIES BEING United States
STABAT AKISH France
MARK STANLEY United States
STARRING United States
STEAMBOAT SWITZERLAND Switzerland
SIMON STEENSLAND Sweden
STORMY SIX Italy
STRANGE CHANGES United States
STRIPSEARCH United States
SUBTILIOR Italy
SUN CITY GIRLS United States
SUPERDENSECRUSHLOADFACTOR Australia
SWEET POTATO United Kingdom
SYNKOKE Norway
SZENTENDRE France
TACO Japan
TAIRIKUOTOKO VS SANMYAKUONNA Japan
TAMANDUA United States
TAPETTO TRACI France
TARTAR LAMB United States
TAYLOR'S FREE UNIVERSE Denmark
TAYLOR'S UNIVERSE Denmark
ROBIN TAYLOR Denmark
TENKO Japan
TEXTBOOK OF MODERN KARATE Italy
THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282 United States
THINKING PLAGUE United States
THIS HEAT United Kingdom
JACQUES THOLLOT France
THONK Switzerland
THRANGH Italy
STEVAN KOVACS TICKMAYER Serbia
TIGRESS AND THE U-FRAIDEES United States
TIGROVA MAST Croatia
TIME OF ORCHIDS United States
TIPOGRAPHICA Japan
TOM MOTO Italy
TONE DOGS United States
TOUPIDEK LIMONADE France
TR-OND & THE SUBURBAN SAVAGES Norway
TRANSELEMENT / ELEMENT United Kingdom
TRAP United States
TRAWLER BYCATCH United States
TRIBAL LOGIC Russia
TRIBRACO Italy
TRIPLE ZERO France
YASUTAKA TSUTSUI / KOHSUKE ICHIHARA / MASAHIKO SATOH Japan
U TOTEM United States
UDUS Italy
UKANDANZ France
ULTRA ZOOK France
UNBELTIPO Japan
UNIVERS ZERO Belgium
UNREST WORK & PLAY United Kingdom
UPSILON ACRUX United States
UR KAOS Sweden
UZ JSME DOMA Czech Republic
VERTO France
VEZHLIVYJ OTKAZ Russia
VIALKA France
VIDEO-AVENTURES France
VIRGULE IV France
VLADIMIR BOZAR N ZE SHERAF ORKEST─R France
THE VOID'S LAST STAND Germany
VOLAP▄K France
VOLCANO THE BEAR United Kingdom
VOLUNTARY MOTHER EARTH Japan
VON ZAMLA Sweden
VORTEX France
WAPASSOU France
WHA-HA-HA Japan
WHEN Norway
DAVE WILLEY United States
WONDEUR BRASS Canada
THE WORK United Kingdom
THE WORLD HERITAGE Japan
X-LEGGED SALLY Belgium
XAAL France
XHOHX Belgium
YETI United States
LES YEUX DE LA T╩TE France
YOG SOTHOTH France
YOLK France
YOLK Switzerland
YONHOSAGO Chile
TATSUYA YOSHIDA Japan
YOWIE United States
YUGEN Italy
ZAAR France
THIERRY ZABOITZEFF France
ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA Sweden
FRANK ZAPPA United States
TOM Z╔ Brazil
ZEVIOUS United States
ZLETOVSKO Japan
ZNR France
ZOAMBO ZOET WORKESTRAO Slovenia
ZOOLIXO LIGO Greece
JOHN ZORN United States
ZS United States
ZU Italy
ZUT UN FEU ROUGE Sweden
ZYPRESSEN Japan

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