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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 20/6/2015

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

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

4.61 | 44 ratings
H─XAN
Art Zoyd
4.32 | 1247 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 711 ratings
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 729 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.30 | 254 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.30 | 225 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.33 | 141 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.28 | 314 ratings
CHOIRS OF THE EYE
Kayo Dot
4.88 | 18 ratings
JACKSON
Korekyojin
4.44 | 54 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.47 | 43 ratings
Гуси-Лебеди / GEESE AND SWANS
Vezhlivyj Otkaz
4.25 | 228 ratings
HERESIE
Univers Zero
4.41 | 53 ratings
DECEIT
This Heat
4.40 | 54 ratings
ZABRANJENO PLAKATIRATI
Buldozer
4.25 | 220 ratings
M┼LTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.25 | 200 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.29 | 104 ratings
BARBARO (MA NON TROPPO)
Present
4.56 | 28 ratings
TAIGA
OOIOO
4.24 | 179 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.30 | 82 ratings
ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
Cardiacs

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

8.8
Silo, Le
BEGNAGRAD
Begnagrad
FARLIG VANDRING
Panzerpappa
THE LITANIES OF SATAN
Galas, Diamanda

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Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Across The Universe by TAYLOR'S UNIVERSE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Across The Universe
Taylor's Universe RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is something weird and unusual for Mr Robin Taylor discography and could be considered like a best of album with some reworked material from some of his previous albums!I think that's a good idea and shows the fact that it's author is permanently in search of new ways of expression for his music and also,is in a continue movement to express new ideas and musical expressions ,not being satisfied or pleased with the result of the compositions even they are already put on a disc!What's more interesting is the selection of the tracks,not too old in Mr Taylor's repertoire,and this versions are from not too old albums!Honestly,the difference is obvious and it's hard to say if the original versions are better then this new ones!The sound has a major improvement,that's for sure and the enrichment of the instrumentation,a slightly different vocal change of interpretation too...all this things are trully ramarcable! What's fascinating for Mr Taylor's music,is the unusual and not at all ordinary manner of expression,the endless and unleashed imagination of the composer ,and the clever and unexpected way to combine original and fresh ideas!That's the major fact about this new versions-they sound fresh and are richer and more dense in their structures,new musicians were added and each of them are bringing their own personality to this new interpretations of the older songs!Definitelly,Mr Taylor has it's own trademark, his own distinct and precise musical ,componistic signature,we imediatelly recognise his style,and that's something essential for an artist with a strong personality and charisma!I personally consider this album a positive experiment and it was something unexpected to discover this new,reworked versions of older songs,and this was a courageoous and interestng idea!Hat off,Mr Taylor and our sincere congratulations for this musical experiment,we-your loyal fans,are delighted and pleased about your musical effort!4.25 stars for me and all my deepest respect and apreciation!
 Lynch by MASCHERE DI CLARA, LE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Lynch
Le Maschere Di Clara RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars Intense new EP

"Lynch" is the short but wild new EP from Verona's acclaimed Le Maschere di Clara, released in October of 2015.

LMdC aims to mold classical with rock in an attempt to "vent" feelings while maintaining the highest ideals of expression, improvisation, and artistry. Like many great RPI bands past and present they easily reach this threshold. And while "venting" may not have been the best translation or the word they would have chosen it seems to apply just fine to this recording.

This short work is a burst, a Molotov cocktail, intense as hell. Beginning with "Freak" the distorted bass is so massive and the drums so nuts it almost feels like some garage doom metal band's wall of sound, save for the theatrics of violin all over the top. "Istanbul" begins every bit as manic before a short breather, but it doesn't last. The pace quickly reverts back to intense through the middle section of the EP. The 10-minute long closer "Solar" becomes the show piece here. Beginning with a huge infectious groove and some Italian spoken word, the tension slowly builds with some looping effects that brings a sense of unease, disjointedness to the listener. Toward the end when the track is in full maelstrom there are these calming, uplifting notes but only at intervals. These bring the slightest bit of calming effect to the craziness, a bit of a post-rock hug after having your ass kicked.

I was disappointed though that the EP is already over following "Solar" and I guess that's why it doesn't do better than 3 star "good but not essential" for me. I wanted this one to be twice as long and see where it all led. I wanted much more. This is stimulating listening at its finest and will please all adventurous RPI fans, but it may leave you hanging and feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I would have held onto these cool songs a bit longer for an album.

 Pollo d'Oro by NE ZHDALI album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.29 | 3 ratings

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Pollo d'Oro
Ne Zhdali RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

4 stars Ne Zhdali (Unexpected) has a very interesting but short discography. Their albums are generally driven by wind instruments with strong folk inffluences from Mid and Eastern Europe and this album is not the exception but with a plus: sounds more mature than the previous ones.

Perhaps there are some weak songs such as "Petunja" or "Bulb", there are really brilliant moments along the album starting with "The 8th Day" is a strong opener full of complex arrangements that reminds me some Doctor Nerve stuff, specially in the closing epic section. The next song "Uke" is a short but nice wind driven melodical song with strong Mid and Eastern Europe folk reminiscences and it's another highlight along with "Kansas" and "Nothing Was Happen!"

But the jewels of the album are "Argonauts (Pollo D'Oro)" and "Wheel of Fortune". "Argonauts" is a complex piece in the style of bands such as Uz Jsme Doma, very dark and creepy mixed with some melodical sections which leads to very harmonic and floating moments; "Wheel Of Fortune" starts with a quiet and almost floating intro that leads into obscure and psyncopated rhytmical sections with an astonishing work on winds. Both are 5 stars compostions into Ne Zhdali discography.

IMO, the best album into Ne Zhdali discography and a 4* with no hestitation.

 Shonentachi E No Chikyusanka by GEINOH YAMASHIROGUMI album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Shonentachi E No Chikyusanka
Geinoh Yamashirogumi RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Geinoh goes to Africa.

Choir and percussion open the album with a Kyrie Eleison (this is the title of the first track). So the mood is set to the Africa of the christian missions., like in Pink Floyd's "Absolutely Curtains". The very African accent of the lead singer is remarkable. If it wasn't for the female voices, there are no clues of it being a Japanese band.

It's on the 3rd track that the female lead vocalist reveals her heritage, even if the music is still very "African" and "tribal": a repetitive choir with no percussion on major chords.

I don't know what "Yando" means, but track 4 sounds like a tribal rite. For the first time a wind instrument is added, so not only percussion. It could be from any part of the world, not Africa only. The subtitle says, if Google is right, "Silk Road Medley".

Not only Christians: the next track is translated as "by the power of Jehovah us, we sincerely love thee free", and effectively this choir doesn't sound African. I don't know if there's a proper "Jewish religious music", but if it exists, this should be how it sounds. Not too different from ancient catholic chants.

"Song of Horsemen", probably for the title's argument, sounds quite British, even if the lyrics are everyting but English. Choir only also this.

Back to Asia, I suppose, with "Gengis Khan Hymn", another male choir, which is followed by a female choir which to my ears reminds to the Bulgarian choir tradition.

Piano appears for the first time in a track whose title Google was unable to translate. It's a sort of American song of the 30s which I think is sung in Japanese. A nice interlude after all the choral music. But piano introduces also the following track which is very good, still "retro" as the previous one. Short and sweet. The piano doesn't go away. Track 11 (Lunch) is another short joke for piano and choir, and is followed by a sweet melodic tune for piano and choir. It's like he soundtrack of a Disney movie of the 30s, like Snowy White or the Sleeping Beauty...not Dumbo, luckily.

On Track 13 there's a complete band. Imagine a Japanese choir singing on the main title of an American western movie of the 60s mixed with the brasses of Anime soundtrack like "Jeeg Robot". Then, unexpectedly, the 14th song is opened by an electric guitar. The song is very "Japanese pop", but keep an ear on the bass. The bass opens also the next one which is the most Avant oriented of the album, with changes of rhythm, a general dark mood, but very melodic in the choir. Probably too much melodic.

Now the strange thing: the tracklist says 16 tracks, but effectively they are 17. I think that the 16th may have been unreferenced (the - sign between track 15 and 16 in the tracklist). Anyway it's just another pop song. Not bad but nothing special.

Finally we have an interesting track. Hibiki (Whisky) is opened by percussion and followed by a "mute" choir on minor chords. Bells and electronic sounds surround what I think is best track of the whole album.

So, half good and half tasteless, this album has some good moments but it's surely not one of the best outputs of the Geinoh ensemble.

 A Magic Word (ВОЛШЕБНОЕ СЛОВО) by HAPPY 55 album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.75 | 5 ratings

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A Magic Word (ВОЛШЕБНОЕ СЛОВО)
Happy 55 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars HAPPY 55 is an interesting musical act from the southern industrial city of Voronezh, Russia which personally i have never heard of before but appears to be in close proximity to the Eastern Ukraine. While sometimes cited as a duo consisting of pianist, composer and main band member Iaroslav Brisov and percussionist Aleksandr Bitiutskikh, they added a third member Gennadiy Chuhlov to handle clarinet and additional synths. It sounds to me that there is some bass guitar at times but no credits are given so i assume perhaps it was synthesized instead of incorporating a real musician. HAPPY 55 has been garnering attention in their native land as being highly original and sounding like no other musical entity. And indeed i have to say that i can attest to that sentiment.

This music is almost impossible to classify as it covers a lot of territory but for progressive rock lovers it falls into the Rock In Opposition camp as it has that familiar avant-garde feel of the more energetic bands in that world but is firmly rooted in the classical and jazz worlds as well. This is an all instrumental album with lots of emphasis on piano, synthesizers and clarinet interactions with different passages through different moods and sonic textures. Sometimes you get the feel of Philip Glass, sometimes it treads into post-bop territory all with a Rachmaninoff concerto romanticism wending its way throughout the beautiful melodic progressions that twist and turn into new ones that keep a steady stream flowing while still being firmly rooted in the avant- garde. Generally speaking the piano maintains the melodic classical meets jazz feel while the clarinet covers the Rock In Opposition. There are just too many classical and jazz influences to even begin to mention as this stuff changes it up frequently.

While this could be considered rock in some circles there are no guitars to be heard, scarce bass and the drumming style is clearly straddling both jazz and RIO fields. This is pretty complex music as far as both melody and rhythms go and it is ever changing, ranging from the mellowest pastoral passages to extremely energetic outbursts that do bring a rock feel to the table. This is truly music that is outside of the box of orthodoxies in any rock, classical or jazz contexts. The fact that they have somehow qualified to be within the parameters of all these genres is a testament to the high quality and devotion put into every detail. Not only is the music amazingly complex but the production is first rate as well. This sounds like a spiffy modern day recording in the most professional manner.

This was actually quite surprising to hear as i wasn't seeking anything of this sort to fulfill any musical yearnings. I love music that takes you somewhere somewhat familiar on different levels but throws all the rules out the window and totally surprises you. Well, HAPPY 55 has done just that. While true i would love to hear this music more developed with more instruments and encompassing larger thematic possibilities there is no doubt that this particular album as it is has a lot to digest without being totally alienating upon first listen. While the virtuosic musicianship is top notch, it really boils down to the outstanding song constructions and mood building dynamics that make this such a primo listen. I truly look forward to hearing more from HAPPY 55 in the future. And yes i agree with others that the album cover is quite lame but don't let that interfere with letting yourself hear some amazingly performed music.

 Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set) by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
3.94 | 87 ratings

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Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set)
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Three discs of Zappa guitar jams is pretty much the definition of excess... perfectly performed and enjoyable instrumental excess. Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar is a compilation of mostly improvised performances that shows off Zappa's skill as a instrumentalist, whose guitar virtuosity is as scattershot and weird as his work as composer.

Because the songs on this release aren't so much songs as they are jams, Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar is a challenging album unless one is who either A) already a Zappa fan, or B) are a fan of instrumental rock in general. Because it's Zappa, the songs don't have hooks, choruses, or even melodies in most cases. These tunes are pure jams, but convey style and mood and creativity at pretty much every moment. Zappa and his varied assortment of supporting players (much of whom are recorded with him live), do a great job of catching the ear with their musical interplay.

The first disc is mostly noodling, and honestly gets old fairly quickly. Discs two and three build momentum, creating more cohesive sounding cuts that feel improvised, but also more like songs. The third disc especially has tracks that show off Zappa jamming at his best in a very appealing tone. This is not the bouncy, playful Zappa we hear in the early '70's; this is electric and cool and tasty.

A great purchase from the Zappa vaults, made especially more interesting because of its improvised and instrumental focus.

Songwriting: NA - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: NA - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Sangrou by SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.77 | 7 ratings

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Sangrou
Satanique Samba Trio RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars This is where the SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO really come to life on their first full-length album SANGROU (something in Portugese about bleeding). This is avant-samba come to fruition and i love it. Everything about this album works for me. While the debut EP "Misantropicalia" was promising the band utilized a bit too much blatant Coil ripoffisms for my taste. While there are tracks on this one that have clear references to Coil=esque experimental electronic, the band have clearly found their niche in the extreme Samba In Opposition category which in retrospect reminds me of aspects of Mr Bungles "Disco Volante" in how they can take different styles and genres of Brazilian music and spastically intersperse them into a nice rhythmic flow. I say rhythmic because that is the glue to the madness experienced here. If you seek melody there are plenty of nice catchy Brazilian and otherwise things going on but what makes this very avant-prog is how things come and go and take you on a wild ride. This is a totally instrumental ride.

It's very rare that i hear something that is utterly unique and makes me have to listen a few times to catch on to what's going on. SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO which is neither satanic nor a trio (but does have some Samba going on) is a bizarre, energetic and avant-musical entity that has incorporated Brazilian traditional music, Rock In Opposition progressiveness along with electronic and hard rock. While things can always sound good on paper, SST delivers the goods. They have the knack to tie all these musical aspects together in unique ways. They do this not only by alternation of styles but also have an incredible knack for overlaying various ideas.

This is only for the most musically adventurous. There are several things going on at the same time and most of it is definitely for the tastes of extreme free-jazz (but highly rhythmic) lovers that utilize the influences of Samba, rock and melodic aspects of Brazilian music. This is music that is designed to melodically titillate and create bewilderment and obfuscation. If those are thrilling aspects in your musical tastes then SST will satisfy to the n-th degree. My musical tastes are all over the map and i surely couldn't listen to this all the time, but when i want one of those musical trips that's equivalent to a roller coaster going through an earthquake tunnel in Disneyland while traditional musicians play under the influence of mind-altering substances then this music more than hits the spot. This album deserves 5 stars for being totally unique, bold, daring and also hits that special funny bone that makes me laugh while being blown away. Not an easy feat. While the following albums follow suit, this one started the whole thing and has a perfect mix of ideas laid out in the most satisfying way. Brilliant.

 Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch by ZAPPA, FRANK album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.52 | 197 ratings

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Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
Frank Zappa RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch is a good, but not great, example of one of art-rock's grand masters transitioning into the '80's (a turbulent decade for prog rock). Here Zappa blends his typical blend of sarcasm and musical wizardry with the highly produced and polished tone of the then modern sound. The effect is an enjoyable one, which while not as powerful (or entertaining) as his classics, remains a fun listen and good example of one of the music industry's most subversive figures.

The first half is upbeat, bottom heavy, driving, and intense. The lyrics are nonsensical and superficial, but the playing is energetic and exciting. There's a bombastic sarcasm in each of these songs, and while they may go on a little longer than needed, are great when taken individually. A lot of fun even if they don't have an especially deep level of complexity thanks to the fine instrumental performances.

The second half is more in vein of the classic and quirky Zappa sound, but the set piece "Drowning Witch" loses its melodic focus quickly to become a 9-minute guitar noodling extravaganza. It would be crazy to complain about Zappa's guitar work, but one can skip through most of this track and hear almost the same sounding licks and effects. Really, the only thing that makes this qualify as a song is the excellent work by the rhythm section, which keeps things in key and moving forward interestingly. "Envelopes" and "Teen-Age Prostitute" are more bite sized and easier to digest, "Teen-Age Prostitute" especially. This track is great because it takes the trademark bounce of Zappa's enjoyable instrumentals and kicks them into overdrive. Heavy guitars and dynamic bass lines make for a rip-roaring close. It should be noted that the second half of the album is recorded live, adding an interesting tone.

A worthy album for fans introduced to Zappa through his other, more engaging work, or those ready for a tongue-in- cheek collection of weird '80's hard rock.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 A Farewell To Brains by STEENSLAND, SIMON album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.10 | 33 ratings

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A Farewell To Brains
Simon Steensland RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I hope Simon is making albums for many years to come because the man really is a treasure. I love his humour and of course his music which is dark, experimental and zeuhlish. Lots of guests helping out including drummer extraordinaire Morgan Agren and bass monster Guy Segers. I would rate this album right up there with "Led Circus" and "Fat Again".

The album opens and closes with 17 minute suites. First up is "Schrodinger's Cat" which begins with a nod to MAGMA before it settles into a groove with fuzzed out bass. It settles back with accordion but kicks back in quickly. The guitar is crying out after 2 1/2 minutes. It settles again before 4 minutes into a zeuhl mode before settling right down again 5 1/2 minutes in and again MAGMA comes to mind. A dissonant horn comes in around 7 1/2 minutes in a relaxed manner. It settles down again 10 1/2 minutes in with accordion and atmosphere. More dissonant horn then it picks up before 14 minutes and again it's zeuhlish before ending in an avant manner with droning. "Elephant" is a short piece of just under 2 1/2 minutes with fuzzed out bass, piano, drums and more.

"One" opens with a slow paced, dirge-like way with these female vocal melodies that are avant sounding, I really like them. They stop then it lightens after 2 minutes. I really enjoy the different sounds here as it plays out. A change after 4 minutes as it seems darker until around 6 1/2 minutes when accordion and interesting sounds take over. I love the melancholic synths after 8 minutes. It's building before 10 minutes with a zeuhlish flavour including chanting. Piano only after 10 1/2 minutes then it picks up a minute later.

"Fader Var" is the only song I'm not into with those female vocals and piano standing out. It's only 3 minutes in length though. "The Idiot" is sparse with female vocals sounds and piano then it turns fuller before a minute with bass clarinet, vocal melodies and more. We start to get this pulsating rhythm with fuzzed out bass then the tempo picks up before 3 minutes then it turns heavier. A calm after 4 minutes then it starts to pick up 7 minutes in. This sounds really good. Vocal melodies a minute later and I love that fuzzed out bass. A calm before 11 minutes and this is dark and kind of creepy with spoken male words. Experimental stuff.

Another incredible album from this crazy Swede that might be his most zeuhlish recording to date.

 Obscure Knowledge by GUAPO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.21 | 38 ratings

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Obscure Knowledge
Guapo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I didn't know that Kavus from KNIFEWORLD is now the guitarist for GUAPO so that's pretty cool. Once again I'm left spellbound by the sheer power of the music from this band just like I was when I first heard their "Five Suns" album. Without question this record will be on my "Best of" list for 2015.

"Obscure Knowledge Part I" is the almost 26 minute opener and man what a ride this trip is. Sounds pulsate as the atmosphere becomes uncomfortable then it kicks in hard before 2 minutes followed by the guitar lighting it up. The guitar reminds me of Steve Howe here. Powerful organ runs as well then the guitar rips it up again before turning Howe-like. It's winding down slowly around 5 minutes as pulsating keys join in and those powerful sounds that drone in and out. It starts to build and we get this repetitive sound but it does have different shades to it as it plays out. A change before 13 minutes and I love when it turns into an ANGLAGARD-like sound around 15 minutes with the angular guitar, organ and more. This continues until it changes before 22 1/2 minutes. Man that section is priceless! They then seem to jam almost to the end in a very groovy way. Love the Fender Rhodes. Just before it ends we get this bagpipe-like note that goes on and on as it blends into "Obscure Knowledge Part II" and it continues this way throughout this over 4 1/2 minute track as experimental sounds come and go. The most avant-garde piece on here.

"Obscure Knowledge Part III" opens with the bass, guitar and keys coming and going until it picks up with drums joining in. The angular guitar is awesome. It settles back but it will shift in tempo and mood throughout. This track really infatuates me. How intense is this before 9 minutes! And this will continue to the end.

Man this can be so experimental but they give me enough melody to balance it out really well. This is an intriguing album that will appeal to Avant fans especially.

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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
AKINETËN 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 EL┴STICA Mexico
ARRIGO BARNAB╔ Brazil
BARNACLED United States
BARRICADE France
LES BATTERIES France
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 BITTOV┴ Czech Republic
BLACK ENGINE Italy
MICHEL BLANC France
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