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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 £1000 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 | 1024 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.32 | 545 ratings
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 574 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.28 | 194 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.27 | 180 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.43 | 49 ratings
ZABRANJENO PLAKATIRATI
Buldozer
4.25 | 279 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.30 | 116 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.26 | 215 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.50 | 30 ratings
SIRENS AND SILENCES/WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER
News From Babel
4.24 | 160 ratings
UNIVERS ZERO (1313)
Univers Zero
4.22 | 196 ratings
MÅLTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.54 | 25 ratings
HÄXAN
Art Zoyd
4.55 | 23 ratings
SCAMBOT 1
Keneally, Mike
4.16 | 445 ratings
WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY
Zappa, Frank
4.65 | 18 ratings
THE UNIVERSE WILL PROVIDE
Keneally, Mike
4.26 | 73 ratings
JEAN LOUIS
Jean Louis
4.20 | 146 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.69 | 16 ratings
FACTOR BURZACO
Factor Burzaco
4.14 | 345 ratings
UNCLE MEAT
Zappa, Frank

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

VÈCI
Combo FH
ZYPRESSEN
Zypressen
FARLIG VANDRING
Panzerpappa
KNEBNAGÄUJE
Pocket Orchestra

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Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Kind Of Saltz by SOT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 21 ratings

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Kind Of Saltz
SOT RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars If Porcupine Tree dreamed a Tuba in Zeuhl and met Metallica along the way.....

An eclectic Avant Garde effort by Oslo's trio SOT. "Kind Of Saltz" 2011, is masterfully performed in all the extension of the word, yet composition wise it is a bit short of being that unique.

After all, the Tuba as such is usually considered and underestimated, as an "odd" and "cheap/humor" instrument in all kind of music environments.

But here in the open-minded RiO/AV prog sub-genre, it is as always, quiet welcomed, as any other kind of "misfit" instrument in the maistream music world.

OK!, After the thrill of listening to Of's Tuba counterpointing to perfection every rhythm of Tusj's drumming, and especially to the riffs and licks of the low-keyed but masterful Salt, the electric guitar player, I can not help but make some music associations and in fact I am not the only one as far as other SOT reviewers.

Yet I chose the "Porcupiners" because SOT's musical language is quiet "refined", as opposed to early Zappa or Robert Fripp's King Crimson (or even Mahavishnu O.), who were more focused on perfection through less Post/Math refinement and through rougher ways and manners, like Steven Wilson and company did later with those same influences. Metallica because this kind of guitar chords reminds me of them and finally Zeuhl, because the few singing is unintelligible.

All in all a highly promising first record which blends Jazz with Metal, in a very Rock in Opposition syncopated rhythm language, but also in electric guitar post/math's space/psychedelia atmospheres. With touches of angry riffs and delicate melodies (or both), which contrasts and enhances the clean-cut performances.

Adding to that a precise dossage of humor, this effort is well worth ****4 PA stars.

 Redwings Nest by SOT album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.77 | 7 ratings

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Redwings Nest
SOT RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Admin / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Dynamism in music is perhaps my favorite aspect of listening to progressive rock. The breadth of the human imagination is boundless, especially when it comes to the creation of music. Avant garde music, in its various forms, is perhaps the best at this, as musicians who play this genre purposefully take the accepted norms of music and transform them into either beasts or beauties or musical creations. This experimentation does not come without its share of risk, however, as the composition and performance of music that has not already been tested and reviewed before can often lead to harsh ridicule or simply a lack of listeners.

SOT, a Norwegian avant-jazz rock band that has been around the avant scene for less than five years now, is no stranger to this risk. Their debut 2011 album Kind of Saltz was a hit amongst fans of experimental and adventurous music, myself included. The band blended a unique groovy rock backing with tuba-driven jazz riffs and motifs. The album was exciting, unpredictable, and fun to listen to. The disorganized mish-mash of riffs and styles combined for a unique, different, and altogether enjoyable album.

When I received the bands next album, Redwing's Nest, I was very excited. The band had not released an album since their debut three years prior, and I was hungry for more of the band's spicy blend of Norwegian avant jazz rock. After my first spin, however, I was confused. It felt, on first listen, that the band had lost their spark. Kind of Saltz had a ferocious yet restrained pep to them, giving a raw energy to both the melodic and not so melodic aspects of the album. From the outset, Redwing's Nest seemed to be the product of a couple of weekend jam sessions that produced a lot of great ideas that had little cohesion. But as a veteran of their first album, I was convinced I was missing something and refused to have my opinion shaped by a single listen.

I was right, to a degree. The twists and turns of SOT's music still had that element of defiance against musical norms, and a number of the songs on the album, such as "They Called Me Sotanic," "Jan Meyen," "Redwing's Nest," and "Second Row," had that element of careless abandon that made their last album so special. The instrumentation was tight and purposeful; the arrangement showed power where strength was needed and restraint where a gentler or more whimsical motif was played. This is showed best in "Second Row," which is easily the best song on the album, showing each of the band's many, many styles. The band, as they showed on their last album, can switch between a pulsating metal riff, a feathery alto sax melody, and a weaving guitar-driven avant garde riff.

Much of the rest of the album, however, felt hopelessly disorganized. I could easily tell what the band was doing with each song, and on their own, many of the riffs are brilliant, but together, there are too many songs that feel forced. The transitions are weakly formed, and the songs blend together in a less-than-appealing way. For some, this reckless song formation will be attractive, as the songs themselves are not bad in any way. The band members play with drive and passion, and the writing is a prime example of what avant garde music can be. For me, however, I was disappointed with how little it seemed the arrangement of the parts seemed to have been thought out. I'm sure the band spent a considerable amount of time on this, and I'm afraid that it didn't show as well as they had hoped.

In the end, this album is in no way bad. All in all, it's a very enjoyable album to listen to. While I would prefer to listen to "Schlatan" for Kind of Saltz compared to "Second Row," this album shows that SOT still has a strong muse and can belt out a killer riff when they want to. Redwing's Nest is a really good album, but it will only be excellent for those who enjoy the form of avant prog that is played by bands with a stronger emphasis on riff diversity than riff cohesion. 3+ stars.

 Taistelu Pahoja Kelloja Vastaan by KAUHUKAKARA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.55 | 6 ratings

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Taistelu Pahoja Kelloja Vastaan
Kauhukakara RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars There's not much to be added to the excellent - and very warm - review by Eetu, who's also responsible of the artist biography. I had ordered this Finnish debut to the library (that I work in) years ago but haven't listened to it before now. Jazz is the main category in which this is eventually placed in libraries, but the acoustically oriented, very original and boundary-free music resembles also chamber music with some medieval flavour here and there. Avant-Prog is a good choice, but it's nevertheless quite easy music to get into, thanks to the light and joyful atmosphere. I agree with Eetu that children might enjoy it too. Most of it would work well as a soundtrack for some animation emphasized on non- verbal storytelling instead of dialogue. The main instruments are saxophones, cello, keyboards and acoustic bass. Also female voice is used as an instrument, but to some extent there are minor sections for worded vocals (for both sexes). Now that I think of it, the band's name (= Enfant terrible) and slightly disturbing cover art, together with the RIO/Avant subgenre, can raise some unjustified prejudice.

From the prog genre one might mention bands such as MANEIGE, FLAIRCK and MALICORNE that have soundwise some faint similarities. One track ends with a noisy laughter - an association to Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome' finale which otherwise is naturally as far from this music as it can be! The 8th track (= Butterfly in Autumn Frost) is the calmest one, sorrowful as Eetu puts it. I got some associations towards serene, modern chamber jazz of the ECM label.

Perhaps the light naivety (with vocalise in unisono) is too present throughout the album. A nice acquaintance anyway, and I'll hopefully manage to listen to their second album soon. 3½ stars.

 Phosphorescent Dreams by UNIVERS ZERO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.84 | 81 ratings

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Phosphorescent Dreams
Univers Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Wow, this could be disputably the band's longest album title to date after their Ceux Du Dehors. Does this spell a change of attitude? Well DD certainly changed a few things in his lifelong project and maybe the most shocking one is the change of label. I'm still at odds at guessing why Daniel thought that he would get a better support than Feigelbaum's Cuneiform label, but the resulting album is not only a very expensive album, but it is not well distributed and not available widely on the web? and not at all in brick & mortar record store. Past that first consideration, the band's line- up has been revamped, with ex-PaNoPTiCoN and present day Wrong Object keyboardist Antoine Guenet and on guitar Nicolas Duchêne. Elsewhere, Dimitri Evers (bass, and Budé (winds) are alongside Daniel, but we're also seeing a few guests, such as sonny Nicola on drums for a track, and a horn section comprising of Hugues Tahon (trumpet) and Adrien Lambinet (trombone) on three tracks. Recorded and mixed at Didier De Roos's installations in Braine and Soignies throughout the second part of 2013, PD was released in January of the following year, with a post- atomic (or stormy) artwork, courtesy of Thierry Moreau.

Well, the corridor noises were that UZ's sound was (finally?) going to change a fair bit with the line- up changes and an electric guitar in the fold. The leastr we can say is that the sonic changes are not immediately audible, and maybe the prime culprit is the unchanged songwriting. Indeed seven tracks, ranging from almost-5 to almost-13-minutes, composed by Daniel (4 of them) and Kurt Dubé (the remaining three) are not much of a change in the light of UZ's overall discography. Are we looking at Clivages' obvious successor or at an Implosion-like venture? Little doubt that from the first notes of the 10-mins Shaking Hats, you're looking more at the first option than a divergence from the Universal (and absolute) Zero. Despite DD's French and Japanese liner notes as to turn the band to a more "electric sound" to remedy to what he was seeing the band's stagnation (my words, not his).

Technically, the electric guitar and keyboards (Pierre Chevalier was playing on digital synths anyway), but it's not like it brings a major contribution or change the band's soundscapes a great deal. My guess is that DD's near-pathological perfectionism saw that the band's impetus was waning and thought a revamp was needed. For the audible results on the album, I find the changes so un-remarkable that the risk he took angering the "sacked" long-standing Chevalier and Berckmans not worth it. I'm sure the former got over it (he's a busy man), but not nearly as sure for the later. As with the preceding Clivages and the anterior Implosion, UZ's general mood is relatively lighter than it was in the 80's and 90's, and though I wouldn't qualify PD of light-hearted danceable music, there are moments where a certain warmth reaches your vicinity. Of course, this doesn't apply for the sinister title track.

The big debate around RIO-heads is whether the very-high price of the album (and its shipping from Japan) is worth the investment. Obviously, if you're an unconditional UZ fan, it will be worth the important hassle and costs, but if you're a little more objective, you'll think twice or thrice before doing so, especially if you know that, outside the slight line-up change, Phosphorescent Dream is yet another "normal" UZ album. As such, I don't find it essential per se (the last to date was Implosion, IMHO), but it's a very worthy album nevertheless.

 Carboniferous by ZU album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.93 | 63 ratings

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Carboniferous
Zu RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars ZU is an atypical power trio emerging from Rome, Italy in the 90s delivering some energetic and unconventional hybrid music. I was totally unfamiliar with this group before their 11th studio album CARBONIFEROUS and I have not heard any other albums before this but from what I have read they have taken on a more heavy and distorted take on their RIO / Avant-prog meets math rock music. There are a several groups this band reminds me of. They have a musical delivery approach like the avant-jazz French group Jean Louis but the heaviness and chord changes have a Fantômas feel as well which is particularly true on the two vocals tracks that have Mike Patton making a cameo appearance. This could be due to the fact they toured with Fantômas and Melvins in 2006. ZU also has a groove on some tracks similar to another strange band called Chrome Hoof. This is especially noticeable on the first track "Ostia."

Any way you slice it ZU is an RIO band in structure with an avant-jazz-metal veneer consisting of the unconventional trio of instruments that includes bass, drums and baritone saxophone. We do get a couple guest guitarists lending a hand on "Chthonian" and "Obsidian" but Massimo Pupillo's extremely heavy fuzzy bass pretty much delivers as much distortion as the music can handle and Luca Mai's sax playing takes the place of the traditional guitar. He handles rhythmic duties for the most part but also contributes some sizzling solos that bring John Zorn to mind. Jacopo Battaglia has a jazz drummer's method of dancing around the strange chord progressions and contributes more of a complementary sound than an expected backbone of the band. The musicians spend their time weaving around each other in a way that makes it hard to focus on any one particular instrument that stands out but there are times when solos are thrown in.

This music is highly addictive. It was love at first listen for me but it only got better the more I listened to it. The band makes full use of tones and distortion as a key part of the musical structure and the musicianship is top-notch. By blending various aspects of math rock, noise rock, punk, jazz, grindcore and a touch of repetitive drone doom at times, they have created a very intricate and disciplined style of music that doesn't come off as being as complex as it is. A true treasure tucked away under the various categories of RIO, avant-prog, avant-garde metal, or free jazz, but nomenclature aside it is simply a unique sound that fans of adventurous, energetic and unorthodox fusion will find most satisfying. 4.5 rounded up

 Far Corner by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.94 | 24 ratings

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Far Corner
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A company of experienced musicians from Milwaukee, Wisconcin, fronted by award-winning keyboardist Dan Maske.Far Corner came to life during the spring of 2003 with Maske being surrounded by bassist William Kopecky (from the Kopecky band), female cellist Angela Schmidt and percussion wizard Craig Walkner.After some lives around the Milwaukee area they were picked up by Steve Feigenbaum's Cuneiform Records and recorded their self-titled debut at the EDream Studios with guest contributions by Frederick Schmidt on clarinet and Heather Schmidt on flute.The album was released in September 2004.

Typical stuff of the Cuneiform catalogue, Far Corner's style is heavily rooted in Chamber, Classical and Jazz Music, performed over a Progressive Rock attitude, displaying complex rhythms and nervous twists with great energy.The music is atonal, complicated and intricate, featuring full cello strings and frenetic drumming/percussions with Kopecky's bass providing a huge background depth and Maske's performance creating sinister, organic textures or lush, piano-based segments.They kind of recall THE MUFFINS' more experimental period with a touch of MIRIODOR/YUGEN deep-sounding R.I.O. procedures, but the atmosphere in here is more cinematic and sterile due to the powerful presence of cello and intense focus on Kopecky's indredible bass executions.The organ parts of Maske seem to come out of the early-70's Psych Rock scene at moments and thIS fact adds Far Croner's sound an even more original touch.On the other hand this work contains plenty of full improvised moments in an excess of talent and free spirit, which I doubt they will offer some pleasure to casual Prog listeners.The tighter and structured pieces are of course more than impressive, flowing along the progressive principles and featuring emphatic, rich and dark moves, even if some of them sound a bit disjointed.

High-class, complex R.I.O.with experimental vibes, heading for the mystified listeners of the movement.Check out the aforementioned resemblances and it is more than sure you will like Far Corner's debut as well.Recommended.

 The Iridium Controversy  by BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.17 | 17 ratings

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The Iridium Controversy
Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars Béla Bartók lives on!

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, 2003, "The Iridium Controversy " is kind of forgotten, even though they come from the USA, which usually brings on a wider audience. Nevertheless completely understandable, considering the kind of non-stop intensity this guys usually handle, but mainly because their contemporary classical music roots, which sets them apart in this sub-genre's different stylings. So just to paint a clear picture, their musical "structures" stand closer to the latter Universe Zero's or Art Zoyd's (although not that "serious"), than Zappa's or The Residents' or Zamla's.

All of this of course, without losing the "humor" (but not caring really that much) or the "idiosincracies" of this sub- genre. Their songs run free in different and varied directions, but the intensity in each enhances their very structured musical language as composition and performance go.

What to expect? For starters completely "instrumental", then, composition-wise: "Bartokian" counterpointing like rhythms, clear references to Steve Reich's "micro-minimalism", lots of free-Jazz and electronics, with some howling electric guitars and saxes. Blended with punk and rock and classical music lines, some "dark-ambiental" moments, as some unorthodox "latin" flavors, mixed up with a unique and original style that never runs dry of musical ideas, creativity or proposals.

****4.5 "intense, intense, non-stop RiO/AV", PA stars.

Not for everyone, but "gold" for those who enjoy this kind of trips!

P.D. And of course the deserving Roger Dean art cover pays for itself!

 Sirens And Silences/Work Resumed On The Tower by NEWS FROM BABEL album cover Studio Album, 1983
4.50 | 30 ratings

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Sirens And Silences/Work Resumed On The Tower
News From Babel RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars NEWS FROM BABEL was a short lived group emerging in the early 80s when the great drought of prog music was tempted by the pop side of music leaving scant few strange musical entities daring to create such bizarre music in the avant prog arena. Of course this group contained members from RIO / avant prog veterans Henry Cow and the Art Bears. After the demise of both these groups was the third installment of that sound and it made its debut on SIRENS AND SILENCES / WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER. The two titles actually stand for two suites that originally took up one side each on the vinyl LP. On the newer CD versions it isn't so clear where one ends and the other begins but it is all strange and interesting at the same time. The music like the predecessors takes the dissonance and chamber music sounds of Henry Cow but NEWS FROM BABEL adds a little cabaret sound to the mix.

Lindsay Cooper really brings the Art Bears sound to this group lending a strong resemblance to her former group, however the real difference between this group and those that spawned this brand of avant prog is that while in Henry Cow and Art Bears the instruments and vocals seemed to be juxtaposed as to create the most alienating effect possible, in NEWS FROM BABEL the group succeeds in finding a balance between these avant-garde elements and an accessible catchiness not usually associated with this type of avant-rock. The tracks are very strange and bizarre but at the same time have an underlying playfulness and giddiness to them that make them a real pleasant listening experience. This probably comes from the influence of Dagmar Krause and Chris Cutler who spent time in one of the greatest progressive pop bands ever, Slapp Happy. The seductive harp of Zeena Parkins also plays a role in smoothing the whole thing out. But have no fear, if you want strange music, this is the real thing. I'm quite surprised this isn't more known as it really is one of the more accessible albums I have heard in this subgenre and an excellent place to start out in the strange world of avant-prog.

 Adult Themes For Voice by PATTON, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1996
1.93 | 18 ratings

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Adult Themes For Voice
Mike Patton RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

2 stars MIKE PATTON's first solo album ADULT THEMES FOR VOICE is a bona fide journey into the avant garde. Unlike anything else in his career before or after he decided to splice and dice vocal recordings he made in hotel rooms on a mini-recorder and for whatever reason released them for the world to scrutinize. This is just his vocals and some production manipulations. With such a low rating it seems like much of the world is not in tune with Mr PATTON's strange and bizarre world of vocal shredding. This album is in the same vein as Demetrio Stratos' solo albums where Mike is simply showing us his ability to take his voice to strange unthought of places. Strange indeed. At times he screams, squeaks and moans, howls like a monkey and does things I lack the proper vocabulary to describe.

This album was inspired by his love of Japanese noise bands like Hanatarash. I have owned this for quite a while but have only listened to it a handful of times. It is basically a sonic diary of a creative vocalist spontaneously doing what he feels inspired to do and then taking it apart and sewing it back together. The result is a very mixed bag. I actually find some of this stuff highly creative and a tad interesting. This isn't however an album that one puts on often because 45 minutes of its inconsistency is a little too much. Some tracks taken on their own are downright ingenious and beyond bizarre. An interesting experiment but I would definitely file this one in the "collector's / fan" category because very few will find anything redeeming in this. I actually much prefer Mike's following album "Pranzo Oltranzista." That is a truly bizarre avant-garde album that works for its entirety.

 A Flaw Of Nature by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 3 ratings

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A Flaw Of Nature
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars Nightmarish and lurid, clockwork post-minimal Rock/Jazz (in opposition?).

"A Flaw Of Nature", 2012, Swiss band Sonar's first release, is both charged with minimal intensity as the magnified one. In a context of perfectly threaded songs that revolve between mere "full-sound" minimalistic musical abstractions and what we all call "constructed" songs.

Their "dark" nature, probably sets them closer to let's say Universe Zero than the Cardiacs. Their musical proposal is by far more difficult to explain. So maybe the Jazz references could come in quiet handy. Modern Jazz disarticulated the structures of their predecessors by means of incorporating spontaneous improvisation to already fixed "parameters".

This styling could hardly had been passed by unnoticed, by close to RiO/AV founders and courts. So modern Jazz has a clear and intimate closeness to this sub-genre, I mean John Coltrane's later works could be included as if today!

SONAR's first release does exactly that! It disarticulates the complexities, so dear to the RiO/AV crowd, and undresses them to full light. Like a symbol not an alphabet!

It is clean, obscure, straight forward, daring, minimal, hypnotic, attractive and unpretentious. Yet worked out close to clockwork-like perfection!

Therefore again, I address the Post/Math rock or modern Jazz audiophiles, more than the RiO/AV's average crowd.

****4 "not only a promise but a whole new proposal" PA stars!

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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
AKINETÓN 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 ELÁSTICA Mexico
ARRIGO BARNABÉ 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 BITTOVÁ 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
FRANÇOIS BREANT France
MARKO BRECELJ Yugoslavia
BREZNEV FUN CLUB Italy
HASSE BRUNIUSSON Sweden
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