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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 Ł1000 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 20/05/2016

Raffaella (Raff)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Ori (frippism)

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

4.32 | 1296 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.56 | 51 ratings
HÄXAN
Art Zoyd
4.32 | 766 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.32 | 742 ratings
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.61 | 36 ratings
TAIGA
OOIOO
4.30 | 267 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.34 | 147 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.30 | 225 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.44 | 59 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.27 | 331 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.41 | 57 ratings
DECEIT
This Heat
4.26 | 238 ratings
HERESIE
Univers Zero
4.26 | 189 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.40 | 55 ratings
ZABRANJENO PLAKATIRATI
Buldozer
4.25 | 204 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.44 | 44 ratings
Гуси-Лебеди / GEESE AND SWANS
Vezhlivyj Otkaz
4.28 | 107 ratings
BARBARO (MA NON TROPPO)
Present
4.31 | 83 ratings
ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
Cardiacs
4.65 | 22 ratings
ERROR
Orejas Y La Lengua, Las
4.52 | 30 ratings
LETTERS HOME
News From Babel

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

ZYPRESSEN
Zypressen
ENSEMBLE HAVADIŔ
Ensemble Havadiŕ
VEUILLEZ PROCEDER
Rouge Ciel
THE VIOLENCE OF AMATEURS
French TV

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Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 ... A Thinking Plague by THINKING PLAGUE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.42 | 29 ratings

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... A Thinking Plague
Thinking Plague RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thinking Plague's debut album - quite rare in its original issue, and much easier to find as half of the Early Plague Years compilation - mashes up the avant-prog RIO sound of Henry Cow with a more whimsical and less overtly political outlook, and freshens things up with a distinctive 1980s sound thanks largely to Sharon Bradford's minisynth and a production style reminiscent of, say, Peter Gabriel's third or fourth self-titled album. It's certainly an oddball number, and Thinking Plague accomplish what their inspirations Henry Cow sometimes failed to do in terms of producing material that is experimental enough to feel fresh but at the same time isn't extremely difficult to get into. A promising start all round.
 Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
2 stars Back in the mid-to-late 1970s, the Verve Mothers Of Invention albums were very hard to come by. Verve, for some reason, probably a difference of opinion with Frank, had stopped distributing all of the MOI album they controlled. Having been introduced to Mr. Zappa's music around 1975, I began scouring the record stores, both new and used album sellers, for all of his music. I was able to find new copies of "Freak Out" (one of the last in the area) and an import copy of "Lumpy Gravy". As for the rest, it took many years to locate them all.

In the meantime, Verve, in 1975, released a series of cheaply packaged albums, collections from their most popular artists, all with similar album covers, with the artist's picture in what looks like a slide frame (ask your grandparents if you don't know what that is), with the band name scribbled in marker. These were often referred to a the "Transparency" collections.

The album gave me a taste of the wonderful music on the albums I still didn't own, but a few items make this album only for collectors. On the plus side, strings of songs are kept in the proper order from "We're Only In It For The Money", preserving the flow of these classics. But on the down side, Verve used their horribly edited versions of the songs. For some reason they spliced out of "Let's Make The water Turn Black", the line: "I still remember Mama with her apron and her pad, feeding all the boys at Ed's Café" (unless these dense record company execs had no idea that waitresses carried note pads to keep track of their orders, there is nothing offensive about this). The live was just chopped out, ruining the meter of the song. And in "Absolutely Free", the exclamation "Flower power sucks!" was also amputated in a similarly clumsy fashion.

Since then, all of the music has been rereleased in the proper format, both on record (The Old Masters sets) and on CD. Therefore, I cannot recommend this one, except as a testament to how foolish executives can be.

 Empty Full Circulation by JACK DUPON album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Empty Full Circulation
Jack Dupon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars I was presented to the French band Jack Dupon in 2013 when they were releasing the album Jésus L'aventurier. I was a bit skeptical about them because I'm definitely not a huge fan of Avant Prog. However, there was something on Jack Dupon that caught my attention. Since then I've been following them very closely.

Their new album, Empty Full Circulation, released on March 21st, is their 5th full length album and what a good surprise!

Initially the todays listener may be worried by the 'short' duration of the album (just shy of 34 minutes). But what people from the CD/Download era forget is that this duration was absolutely normal for the 70's era. This isn't really something to get worried though, Empty Full Circulation has so many details that the 34 minutes seems to be at least one hour long, not because it drags endlessly, on the contrary. The strenght of this record is that you can keep listening over and over and you're going to get new details every time.

Another topic to be mentioned is the actual content of the songs. Jack Dupon's native city is Clermont-Ferrand in the central region of France. Not far from there we can found the city of Randan, the band got inspiration in this city and its forests, castle and some amazing tales that come from this place. This time Jack Dupon is singing in English but they didn'y lose their exotic French flavour because of that.

Once again Jack Dupon delivers to the audience an album that is at the same time weird and solid. Empty Full Circulation has so many details and hooks that you will be able to enjoy this album for a long time yet. I guarantee!

Key tracks: 'Flower Way', 'Broken House' and the closing track 'The King Hedgehog' are the best tracks!

 Speechless by FRITH, FRED album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.08 | 21 ratings

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Speechless
Fred Frith RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fred Frith's second post-Henry Cow solo album continued the project, begun on Gravity, of Fred collaborating with a range of different bands, so Fred's multi-instrumentalist performances provide the thematic connection strands but the different band approaches keep things fresh. On the first side of the album - that's the material from Kick the Can pt. 1 to Women Speak To Men; Men Speak to Women, Fred is backed up by Etron Fou Leloublan, an established RIO act whose jazz-punk stylings fit the "mutant pop meets world music" style of the compositions nicely.

On the second side, the backing group is Massacre, a No Wave supergroup consisting of Fred himself allied with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher. This was actually an extremely busy year for the Massacre members, because as well as this album they were putting out an official Massacre debut album and Laswell and Maher, having only just wrapped up the New York Gong project with Daevid Allen, were poised to unleash the debut Material album on the world (on which Fred guested). It's the sort of percussive avant-melodic "you can dance to this but you'd look weird doing it" stuff that listeners have come to expect from the Material musical microcosm.

 The Violence Of Amateurs by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.20 | 74 ratings

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The Violence Of Amateurs
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mike Sary's avant-prog unit offer up a gateway drug both to their own discography and to the wilder side of prog in general, walking a fine tightrope. Had they been a bit more harsh, challenging, and obtuse with their experimentalism, they'd have turned off listeners used to calmer brands of prog; had they spent more time offering the pastoral prog and Muffins-y Canterbury fusion material which forms the more accessible component of their sound, they'd have turned off those who want something different and unusual. As it stands, they manage the balancing act adeptly, producing an ever-changing musical landscape which demonstrates that avant-garde experimental prog doesn't have to be difficult and inaccessible.
 Das Licht Der Menschen by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.03 | 9 ratings

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Das Licht Der Menschen
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Going through the ROZ VITALIS discography in chronological order reveals a lot about the band's development and how they mastered the art of changing things up from the very beginning. DAS LICHT DER MENSCHEN ("The Light Of Humans" in German) is the 3rd album by the St Petersburg based band with Ivan Rozmainsky still taking the lead with his technically brilliant keyboard skills and roller coaster thematic developments. This album is the total opposite feel from the dark, gloomy and depressive "Lazarus" and focuses more on positive emotional responses. According to the band, the three gargantuan tracks on this one represent a trinity of light, where all the tracks contain the word "light" in various languages. It is also designed to be the most complex and lengthy beast in their musical output and at 70 minutes exactly a lengthy one indeed. This one has only three tracks with each clocking in over the 20 minute mark. Moreover, the main emphasis on DAS LICHT DER MENSHCEN is polyphony where two or more melodies independently cooperate to unfurl a larger musical flagship. On this release once again keyboards and electronica are the dominant feature but there is extra attention paid to percussive chimes and Nadezhda Regentova delivers some of her most spectacular vocal skills offering up yet again another brilliant album.

"потоки света трисолнечного" (Potoki Sveta Trisolnechnogo) Flows of Tripe Sunny Light in Russian (27:48) is the longest track in the entire career of ROZ VITALIS and immediately conveys a a more enlightened and optimistic feel than the previous album. It starts out with female vocals and chimes and certainly brings Dead Can Dance to mind a bit but quickly Rozmainsky delivers his magic keyboard touch with all the classical wizardry and chime bell action that creates a feel as if the Dark Ages were ceding into the Renaissance. Once again there is a lot of attention paid to theology and a conceptual focus on unification and enlightenment through music. As always the music whether dark or light is progressive in every way possible. While the music is firmly rooted in classical offerings of past centuries, the jazz and progressive inspired musical ideas sprout up unpredictably and often. Between the keyboards and chimes there is also lots of choral vocal action and there are many moments where if feels like the whole thing was recorded by monks in an abbey in the middle of nowhere. While most of the track has a slow to mid-tempo feel to it, there are occasional prog rock outbursts that include guitar and spastic drumming although like all these early albums the drums sound a little lackluster and needed some attention, however they are a fairly minor role in the mostly keyboard and chime dominated sonosphere here.

"Colore Pieno Di Luce" (Color Full Of Light) in Italian (21:50) picks up well where track 1 left off as it continues the chimes and keyboards but immediately creates a more progressive sound with wild time signatures and polyphonic elements overlapping and creating an interesting contrast from the start. The tempo picks up after a minute or so and begins to sound like one of those eclectic symphonic prog bands of the 70s like Island. There are also folk elements to the mix as it sounds like a symphonic prog band joins in with the folkies. This is a meandering track with no structure really however it's very melodic. It consists of keyboard melodies, chiming percussive marches and Nadezhda's vocals at times. While it is melodic it also has counterpoints that verge on dissonance. A very interesting track that creates different types of tension that always resolve in the end. Another Benedictine Monk sort of church music thang meets Bach inspired classical music and progressive rock excesses. Love it.

"Ablakok, Csillagok, Feny" (Windows, Stars, Light) in Hungarian (20:22) once again begins with chimes and keyboards. This one is quirky as it unfolds with lots of chime percussive action, keyboard runs in a classical Baroque style and odd time sigs. It's pretty much a call-and-response between the chimes and keys which create a Bach-esque atmosphere as if Johann had licked some toads or something and created some music before his time. Just when you think we're living in the 18th century it all changes and becomes rather esoteric chimes, keys and very bizarre time sigs that change up often with some flute sounds, symphonic backings, female vocal "ahh's" and a rather marching drum effect. This one pretty much meanders aimlessly but pleasantly in myriad directions. Pretty cool

This album lives up to the more lightened up hype. It truly is a nice upbeat progressive electronic meets symphonic prog and folk behemoth. It is very quirky as it is both melodic and jittery in its rhythmic parade down a seventy minute time span. It is both traditional in a classical sense and totally unorthodox in creating utterly unexpected surprises throughout its run. Basically the timbres are of a classical nature but their behaviors are very surreal and prog related. They can be smooth and silky one moment and then totally become as wild and wooly as the most extreme avant-prog. This is the reason i love this band. ROZ VITALIS has the mojo to pump out one brilliantly crafted album after another and with DAS LICHT DER MENSCHEN it is utterly apparent that they can successfully create totally opposing moods from one album to the next. As always this could have been given a more professional makeover with various aspects being heightened to greater effects, but this as it stands it quite satisfying in its own right.

 Yog Sothoth by YOG SOTHOTH album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.48 | 12 ratings

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Yog Sothoth
Yog Sothoth RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I must admit that my focus during my first two spins of this album were in comparing their sound to SHUB NIGGURATH. After the comparisons I just listened to the music and my appreciation grew with each subsequent spin. These guys weren't nearly as dark or classical as SHUB NIGGURATH but I do hear similarities. This has more of a jazzy side, even Free Jazz at times, with some brief Classical moments but above all this is Avant music without a doubt. They were a five piece band out of France including violin, flute and sax with some guest trombone and female vocal expressions. The best thing is that this was released in 1984 a rather bleak time for Prog.

We get just three tracks starting with the 18 minute opener called "Nekrosis". The wind is blowing as an ominous atmosphere takes over then we get some solemn sax and trombone drones. it turns upbeat with keyboards, drums, bass, sax and violin. Things get jazzy after 2 minutes especially the bass as piano, cymbals and horns help out. That jazzy section lasts until we get a drum solo 4 minutes in then a minute later it turns Classical with lots of wind instruments. We get some solo mournful violin expressions before 7 1/2 minutes and it stops after 8 1/2 minutes as a new soundscape takes over of horns, bass and cymbals. The jazzy bass is back 10 minutes in as it walks with electric piano, sax and drums helping out. The horns are dissonant at times then a new section takes over after 11 1/2 minutes with synths leading. Very cool. Honking horns arrive 13 minutes in with cymbals and bass as the synths continue. The violin is back 14 minutes in with growly bass and a beat as the horns and synths stop. The horns are back before 15 1/2 minutes then it settles with a melancholic vibe with violin, horns and drums standing out to the end.

"Maint Reve Vesperal Blule Par Le Phenix" is the closing track on side one and the shortest tune by far at 5 minutes. Faint sounds build, it's fuzzy sounding. The violin comes to the fore then honking sax before bass and clashing cymbals help out. It's dark with vocal expressions as well. Discordant piano follows before her vocals get crazy and creepy. Such an Avant piece.

"Fou: L'art Noir" fills side two at over 22 minutes. Piano melodies to start as drums join in along with bass as the piano continues. Sax after 2 minutes then violin as well. It turns insane, very avant before 3 minutes. Pretty much a silent calm takes over 5 1/2 minutes in then it turns dark with sparse sounds and female vocal melodies. Creepy stuff, then it kicks back in around 10 minutes in with violin over top of the jazzy soundscape. He starts to rip it up on the violin then we get some screams and insanity before 12 minutes. Man this is experimental until around 13 minutes when it turns dark and haunting. Sax 15 minutes in signal a change along with more creepy vocal melodies. Vocals to the fore before 16 1/2 minutes then she stops as the violin kicks in a minute later. Dissonant horns and piano follow a minute later with random drum patterns. Bass too until before 18 1/2 minutes when we can hear people talking and yelling. Piano, sax and a beat take over along with violin to the end.

This is such an innovative album that ticks many of the boxes that makes adventerous music so important to me. A must!

 This Heat by THIS HEAT album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.99 | 44 ratings

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This Heat
This Heat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I like what it says in the bio here that these three guys had short hair and wore second hand suits as they played live in the late seventies. They were a British act led by drummer Charles Hayward formerly of QUIET SUN, but the music here is far different from that band. Many felt that they were carrying on where FAUST left off at the time, and one of the bands who were huge fans back then of THIS HEAT were HENRY COW. Clarinet, viola and the usual instruments are featured here with all three guys using tapes so it's hard to tell at times what I'm hearing but as usual I'll try to describe what I think I hear.

"Testcard" starts and ends the album and it's just what the title says. "Horizontal Hold" has this heavy beat, an almost industrial rhythm that starts and stops. I like the speedy guitar strumming or is that viola being strummed after 2 minutes. Angular guitar follows with keyboards, a beat and more. A beat with electronics follows then intricate sounds start to come and go. Such a cool sounding track. "Not Waving" opens with organ-like sounds as viola joins in and it builds. Sounds drone until 2 minutes in when it settles right down. The clarinet kicks in before the vocals arrive, both continue and the vocals are avant sounding. Such an experimental backdrop to the vocals here. It's haunting late to end it. "Water" sounds nothing like you'd expect but instead we get random cow bell-like sounds and percussion throughout. The sound builds after 2 minutes as it turns quite powerful.

"Twilight Furniture" is a top three song for me. This is a more traditional song with a catchy beat as the guitar comes and goes. Vocals after a minute and they will also come and go. It settles late with viola. "24 Track Loop" is just that as sounds drone and an electronic-like beat takes over. More drones follow before an uptempo beat joins in. Clarinet is added before 4 minutes then it all settles back to end it. "Diet Of Worms" is grating with those high pitched sounds throughout. "Music Like Escaping Gas" is a top three track as sounds hum and start to build. Picked guitar after a minute then a throat is cleared before 2 minutes(haha) as windy sounds and vocals join in. It's just insane after 3 minutes. Great track! "Rainforest" has loud banging to start along with cymbals and atmosphere. It settles back some as a rhythm kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes to the end as it blends into "Fall Of Saigon" my final top three. Multi-vocals join in and they actually sound normal. They stop after 2 1/2 minutes. Check out the avant guitar expressions. Nice. The guitar speeds up late ripping it up big time.

Man this is a classic Avant album but I feel their followup "Deceit" is even better. A solid 4 stars.

 Animal Cerámico by NICOTINA ES PRIMAVERA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Animal Cerámico
Nicotina Es Primavera RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars A Buenos Aires-based chamber rock unit NICOTINA ES PRIMAVERA have done such a promising debut "Animal Cerámico". It's said this project would have been founded by a young flutist of ability Camilo ÁNGELES, and just as mentioned, his flute (basically a wind instrument good at creating a gentle, modest atmosphere) plays a funkadelic role as a "forefront", that has a neat outcome amazingly. And more surprisingly, they does such a complicated improvisation in a cool, smart, and natural manner. This awesome exploration reminds me of a Japanese jazz rock pride Djamra ... who play systematically and minutely both on stage and in a studio. They are suitable to be called as a cooperatedly improvisation combo.

These musical phenomena should be summerized into their eponymous masterpiece suite "Nicotina Es Primavera", On the masterpiece turf, the members each of whom differs personally from others play strictly together as if various toys or treasures could be put together into a large box. And every artist struggles others' sound up to the perfection. Cannot imagine such a fantastic session was done as a Chamber Rock in a small studio. Wonderful they could complete this over-thirty-minute long suite without any interval nor moment, quite in natural. An addiction.

 Road Tapes - Venue #3 by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Live, 2016
2.00 | 3 ratings

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Road Tapes - Venue #3
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

2 stars This is the third entry in the "Road Tapes" series (I bet you didn't figure that out by the title), on the ZFT's "Vaulternative" label, seeming to be reserved for historically important (in the Frank Zappa sense) but less than technically stellar performances.

This recording documents two shows from a single night, very early in the "Flo & Eddie" era of The Mothers of Invention.

Joe Travers explains in the liner notes that for quite a bit of the first show, one track of the stereo reel-to-reel tape had been recorded over, so the other channel was used, and digitally separated into simulated stereo. This does create some weakness in the sound, and when the album switches into true stereo, the change is drastic, but also a great relief.

Aside from that major sound issue extending through the first few tracks, the rest of the sound is fair. The instruments can all be heard, and the only unwanted distortion comes from Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan's shrill falsetto vocals (I'll gat into that later). Also, Frank's dialogue in between songs is barely audible.

The set lists, where only two songs were played in both shows, are heavily culled from "We're Only In It For The Money" and "Uncle Meat". There are arrangements that are obviously in transition between their original versions and the more familiar Flo & Eddie/Mothers material previously released by FZ.

Historically, this shows Frank in the process of working Volman & Kaylan's unique vocal style into his music, before giving way to the hit or miss comedy band that they became in that period. There is little on this album I haven't heard previously by this group, but I do like the "Call Any Vegetables" sounding closer to the original version, and more than once, Zappa can be heard developing what was to become the "Inca Roads" guitar solo.

I can't say I hate the Flo & Eddie Mothers ("Just Another Band From LA" holds a special place in my heart), but This group always sounded sloppier than any other of Zappa's groups. But just because you have a very high falsetto voice does not mean you should use it on almost every song. And on an unrefined recording like this one, the tone gets downright irritating at times.

I have to admit, that as a Zappa collector, I find it valuable, but for the prog fan, I would recommend nearly every other (save the "Beat The Boots" releases) album over this one.

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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-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
ANDREW MOORE'S CHAMBER WORKS United States
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
THE ARTAUD BEATS United Kingdom
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
BBP UNDERGROUND ORCHESTRA Czech Republic
BEGNAGRAD Yugoslavia
BOB BELL Canada
BEN LEVIN GROUP United States
BIG BLOCK 454 United Kingdom
BIG FARM United States
BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC United States
BISE DE BUSE France
IVA BITTOVÁ Czech Republic
BLACK ENGINE Italy
MICHEL BLANC France
BLAST Netherlands
BLITURI Canada
THE BLITZOIDS United States
BONE Multi-National
THE BOOK OF KNOTS United States
BOREDOMS Japan
BOSNNIA Argentina
BOX Multi-National
FRANÇOIS BREANT France
MARKO BRECELJ Yugoslavia
BREZNEV FUN CLUB Italy
BRIAN! United States
BROKEN.HEART.COLLECTOR Austria
HASSE BRUNIUSSON Sweden
BUILD United States
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
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