Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Greco Bastián


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Greco Bastián With a Little Hell from My Friends album cover
4.22 | 56 ratings | 10 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Proteo Revampirizado (6:30)
2. Zidane Racist (6:29)
3. Zeuhlito Lindo (5:27)
4. Oniontown (5:44)
5. Aclowntrenós (4:44)
6. My First Metal Swing Set (2:09)
7. D.A.S (1:42)
8. Don't Open Til Xmas (3:13)
9. Exit Filming for a Muse (4:59)

Total Time 40:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Tatsuya Yoshida, Japan (Koenjihyakkei, Ruins, Korekyojinn) / drums
- Jean-Luc Plouvier, Belgium (Univers Zero, Maximalist!, Daniel Schell & Karo) / piano
- Ryoko Ono, Japan (Sax Ruins, Plastic Dogs, Ryorchestra) / saxophone
- Pierre Vervloesem, Belgium (X-Legged Sally, Flat Earth Society, Kings of Belgium) / electric guitars
- Matt Lebofsky, USA (Mirthkon, Secret Chiefs 3, Moetar) / basses
- Patrick Shiroishi, Japan (Corima, Upsilon Acrux, Sswan) / saxophone
- Emmett Elvin, UK (Guapo, Knifeworld, Chrome Hoof) / electric guitar, bass
- Vincent Sicot-Vantalon, France (Scherzoo, Unit Wail, Zero Zero Zero) / piano, keyboard effects
- Jon Bafus, USA (Gentleman Surfer, Afternoon Brother, Invasive Species) / drums
- Samo Salamon, Slovenia (Trio, Quartet, Sextet) / electric guitars
- José Luis Velasco, México / electric guitar, bass
- Hey Figueroa, México (Mushasho) / basses
- Armando Lagarda, México (Mushasho) / drums
- Edson Santana Reyna, México / acoustic & charango guitars
- Gerardo Ramlop, México / xylophone
- Greco Bastián, México / piano, keyboard effects, VST's

Releases information

Label: Azafrán Media
Formats: CD, Digital
October 10, 2022

Thanks to octopus-4 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy GRECO BASTIÁN With a Little Hell from My Friends Music

GRECO BASTIÁN With a Little Hell from My Friends ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(48%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

GRECO BASTIÁN With a Little Hell from My Friends reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars This is not the first album of the Mexican Greco Bastian that I have listened to. The previous ones showed a talented composer, but were lacking, as Greco himself says, of skilled musicians on instruments different from piano and keyboards. Greco, in fact, declares that he is not a multi-instrumentist, and listening to the complexity of his compositions it's quite unbelievable. How can one invent bass lines, guitar solos, drums on odd signatures, if not able to play them? Probably the artist doesn't feel confident enough, but I don't think that he can't play anything but keys.

Anyway, thank to this "low self-confidence", Greco has been able to have some big names of today's avant scene playing in this album, together with his own band, a quintet of skilled musicians.

Describing track-by-track an album of this kind is not possible because there so much stuff going on that it would take ages, so I'll just point to the most peculiar elements:

- Zeuhl like repetitions - RIO flavor in the arrangements. - Unpredictability in the structures. - Time signatures that require differential equations to be computed...

But most of all, a great sensibility. Let me also add that the music is not as dark and depressive as RIO music can sometimes be. It has also some melodic moments.

A special mention is deserved by "Zeuhlito Lindo" (to be noted the humour in the titles): This track has a strong MAGMA flavor, and I must give my compliments to the drummer and the bassist. On this track they don't have anything less than Vander and Yannick Top.

The album is extremely enjoyable even by those who are not used to Avant and Zeuhl. They may start with track 4 (Oniontown) and the unexpected classical guitar that opens it followed by a guitar solo with some RPI flavor. It makes me think to the Goblin's debut.

What else to say: I remember when Greco Bastian asked to be added to progarchives, I had the impression that he was a little presumptuous, but he is simply correctly aware of his skill. "With A Little Hell From My Friends" makes the pair with "Monster Master" by SOT: the two best Avant albums that I've listened to this year.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a blast!

Some decades ago Zappa asked: "does humor belong in music?", and the answer at least to the talented Mexican mind named Greco Bastián, is a big YES.

Since the first time I approached his music I realized he´s got something different to offer, something unique that is not commonly shared in Mexican musicians, because while the sounds he produces are powerful and eccentric, in the vein of zeuhl and RIO music (or avant-garde, if you prefer), he always adds a bit of humor which is clearly noticed in the mind-games he does with his album titles, just like he does with this magnificent 2022 released entitled 'With a Little Hell From My Friends'.

I love the title, and I don't really care about that old song it might refer to, but I care about that sense of gratitude he has with the different musicians that collaborated and help him to finish this album, musicians from Mexico and from all over the world, whose grain of sand was essential to approach what he was aiming to. Names such as the almighty Tatsuya Yoshida (legendary Ruins drummer) and the lovely Patrick Shirohishi who I saw once playing with Corima are included in this album, so go figure.

The explosion starts with 'Proteo revampirizado', and since the first seconds we will find a vertiginous road, so much energy and power that is unleashed through complex time signatures and a precise yet elegant execution. The piano rhythm is very zeuhl-esque, and I love that powerful drumming that is also wonderfully complemented by bass, crazy guitar riffs and of course, the sax that appears here and there. Welcome to my music, says Bastián with this amazing opening track.

I follow Bastián on Twitter and know he is a soccer fan, haha, which maybe led him to name this second track as 'Zidane Racist'. The humor is not only present in the title, but also in the music, because the song starts with a kind of gypsy and funny tune, then it becomes more serious and adds that raw zeuhl sound, but I love there are some moments that it also reminds me of some Zappa moments. At half the song it slows down and shares a darker, horror-like passage, and then the song starts to be rebuilt.

There is a traditional Mexican chant called 'Cielito Lindo' (it is the song Mexican soccer fans sing in every World Cup), and here Greco Bastián took inspiration of it to give this third track the fabulous name of 'Zeuhlito lindo', quite curious and original. Despite the soft and kind sound of that traditional song, here the music is completely opposite to it, because since the very first seconds it explodes, creating that Ruins-like sound with powerful drums, a raw bass and a wonderful addition of xylophone and sax. Then odd-time signatures appear once again, taking us to a multifaceted trip full of sensations, colours and textures. I also love the use of keyboards here, because it produces a dark atmosphere that may remind you of Goblin. Love it.

'Oniontown' starts with cadence, a soft piano and then drums, bass, mellotron and other instruments join and create a horror-theme ambient, once again I remembered Goblin for some reason. Well, this track is wonderful, it perfectly flows in spite its challeging changes, and no matter how avant-garde or zeuhl it sounds, I believe it could be enjoyable to any prog rock fan.

'Aclowntrenos' is like saying "between us" haha, is another word game made by Greco Bastian's restless mind. Also, the term "clown" included hidden in the title reflects a bit of the song's sound, because it might take you to a circus, an obscure circus, of course.

'My First Metal Swing Set' is a fast and short song full of guitars, so if you are into speed sports, fasten your seatbelt and let the music take you.

The shortest track comes next with 'D.A.S.' which work as a sort of intermission. Jazzy and zeulh-esque, it reminds me a bit of Soft Machine.

Well, Christmas time is also present here with 'Don't Open til Xmas', a funny track that has that december flavor, even the rhythm keeps the Xmas essence, but the adaptation to Greco Bastian's sound is amazing. He is really a talented composer and knows how to make things work; of course, the help he received from the different musicians is priceless, but he put the first stone.

'Exit Filming for a Muse' is the last song and I love how it sounds sooo different from the previous ones. It has some classical arrangements, it really works as a film-score, reminding me of some Western films. After all the vertigo and the storm and energy provided in the previous tracks, they delight us with a soft goodbye, letting us know they can change the mood, the sound and the result, if the want to, because they are capable of reinventing themselves.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are 5 bonus tracks, which are actually alternate versions of some of the songs I previously described. A worthy material for those who already loved the album.

And yes, I loved it, and I really thank Greco Bastián for daring to create this kind of music that is hardly listened in Mexico, and also for daring to contact all the musicians featured in this album, musicians he actually admire, so it is great to achieve something with people you appreciate. Congrats!

RIO / Avant-prog / Zeuhl album of the year? Why not!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A diverse collection of modern Avant Garde/RIO songs from a collaboration of a veritable who's who of RIO, Zeuhl, and Avant Jazz artists under the leadership Mexican Greco Bastien--an artist who was hitherto unknown to me. (Is the album title a reference to the 2006 film of the same title from Suzanne Shepherd? If so, it would explain some of the cinematic moods and themes expressed in Greco's music.)

1. "Proteo Revampirizado" (6:30) I don't like the hollow and plastic drum-machine sounding sounds coming from Tatsuya Yoshida's drums but the weave of dobro/banjo and tuned percussives (including piano) is pretty engaging. The electric guitar solo at the end of the second minute is harsh while the weave that follows almost sounds like Flim and the BBs. The bass, up front and center, is great to hear but it's a little repetitious--and the banjo/dobro is also quite forward while the saxophone(s) are mixed behind. Interesting. I'm not sure I'm picking up on the vampire reference despite the horror movie plodding and chaos. Any relation to early Bondage Fruit? (8.75/10)

2. "Zidane Racist" (6:29) I've never been able to find much like/tolerance for a klezmer-type of music--even when it is trying to be Peter Gunn-like. Also, though the collective pace and cohesive synchronization of the instrumentalists' melody lines is impressive, much of it feels either auto-aligned or MIDI(VST)ed. I wonder if the "band" could perform this tightly live. And the bass sounds so isolated, even weirdly compressed. A stop and left turn at 4:20 feels NIL-ish. Interesting. There is, of course, a lot of Zeuhlishness to the music as well. (Love the BEATLES reference with the final piano hit and long hold!) (8.75/10)

3. "Zeuhlito Lindo" (5:27) I hate these plastic-sounding tom-tom heads that Tatsuya Yoshida is using. (They remind me so much of Markus Pajakkala's Brutopianisti album from 2017.) Yech! Again, the klezmer freneticism of the opening pace and whole-band weave is not my favorite style to listen to, but, luckily, some spacious isolation of various instruments (over the very busy drums, bass, and piano) occurs enough to let me relax. Matt Lebofsky's bass play is right up front and center but not chunky enough to be Zeuhlish and not creative enough for my expectations. Again I am very much reminded of the music of Markus Pajakkala--especially in his Brutopianisti release--though there are also motifs reminding me of black midi's Cavalcade. The musicianship is excellent--so tight and so precise. I wish the drums didn't drive me to distraction. (8.75/10)

4. "Oniontown" (5:44) released in 2019, this is virtually the same MIDI(VST)ed composition performed and recorded by Greco back then with friends and members of his old band, Cobalto Circus. The stop-and-go format is more spacious than the other stuff on this new album. (8.5/10)

5. "Aclowntrenós" (4:44) rolling bas line, grating saw-guitar chord strums, xylophone and piano and, later, VST (Virtual Studio Technology) horns. Sounds like an exercise in math rock. (8.5/10)

6. "My First Metal Swing Set" (2:09) lower octave piano arpeggio starts this one before ATOMIC APE-like cinematic chase music takes over. Lead electric guitar and xylophone stand out with wailing guitar playing in a Robert Fripp/KING CRIMSON style and sound palette--which is cool, except ? it's been done before. (Think: instrumental sections between Adrian Belew's vocals on "Indiscipline"). Hard driving and brief. (4.25/5)

7. "D.A.S" (1:42) rolling bass, syncopated drums, and screeching saw guitar gives this a very MIDI(VST) sound. (4.25/5)

8. "Don't Open Til Xmas" (3:13) a variation/play upon the "Jingle Bells" melody line, though the sound palette has changed quite a bit--with some fuzzy sax and synths playing the crazy lead weave with the piano--but it all sounds too tight--like it's MIDIed. (8.5/10)

9. "Exit Filming for a Muse" (4:59) quite a cinematic song--and fit for the soundtrack to a slow processional in a carnival or small town parade. Besides the drums, this one is all computer created, all Greco solo. It's actually pretty good--pretty easy to access and sync with--especially the searing "guitar" soloing over the top over everything. (8.75/10)

Total Time 40:57

My main complaint with much of this album is the frenetic pace, the use of "cold" plastic tom heads (when used), and the often too-precise synchrony of the herd of stampeding instruments--which makes me second guess the engineering: whether instruments are interlocked by engineering "auto-tune" like computer mechanisms or by being MIDIed (here called "Virtual Studio Technology") to Bastián's keyboard.

B/four stars; a nice, though perhaps challenging, addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars GRECO BASTIÁN has been thrilling the avant-prog underground for a few years now ever since he unleashed his debut "Persian American" in 2019 to critical acclaim for his bold dexterous melding of the difficult music section of avant-prog with math rock as well as the more pacifying stabilizing zeuhl sounds. A true outlier coming from Acapulco, Mexico, BASTIÁN has rekindled the fun factor in the genre by tackling the knotty prog excess of bands like Magma, King Crimson, Present, Koenjihyakkei and other rockers in opposition along with the humorous whimsy of Frank Zappa and England's Canterbury Scene.

What better way to make a classic album than WITH A LITTLE HELL FROM MY FRIENDS, the outrageously cool album title that makes a bit of a reference to The Beatles' classic tune, Nice! And hell from some friends indeed with a star-studded cast that includes FIFTEEN guest stars that include Tatsuya Yoshida, Jean-Luc Plouvier, Matt Lebofsky and a whole bunch of others. It's a freekin' avant-prog party, this one! This album features nine exhilarating tracks that clock in around 41 minutes and all i can say is WOW!!! This album features music that avant-prog dreams are made of! The album doesn't waste any time getting down to business. The opening "Proteo Revampirizado" showcases a group of virtuosos walking the fine line between melodic prog rock along with all those unconventionalities of the avant-prog world.

In many ways this is like a various artists release as each track features a different lineup with only the man of the hour GRECO BASTIÁN performing piano and keyboards on every track on board. This album ambitiously and successfully melds interesting melodic developments with avant-garde and Rock In Opposition technicalities. The second track "Zidane Racist" for example sounds like the theme to a spy-fi thriller only embellished with the inverted interests of Henry Cow only an adrenaline. Oh yeah, this is fast paced in yer face avant-prog experience all the way through and for those of us who live for quick tempos grooves in avant-invertedness fashion this is the soundtrack of total contentment. It's just all so well paced! Every little detail is brilliantly executed with the tones, timbres, rhythms, musical scales, production techniques and musical motifs performing like a brilliant Cirque du Soleil performance!

This album really is the epitome of brutal prog. Incessant rampant tempos coalesce with crazy complex time signatures and even more demanding compositional fortitude. The musicianship on this one is off the chart and the fact that so many disparate musicians somehow came together and built of the strengths of the others is almost unthinkable! While many supergroup projects flail due to too many chefs in the kitchen, this one actually benefits from egos on hold for the sake of crafting a greater than the sum of the parts magnanimous roster of excellence. Manic, technical and utterly progressive, WITH A LITTLE HELL FROM MY FRIENDS offers a thrilling non-stop ride through the brilliance of the avant-prog universe only set to full roller coaster ride setting rather than a wimpy merry-go-round on the Boardwalk.

Basically what we have here is a crazy mix of avant-prog, math rock and zeuhl. Think Ruins jamming with Henry Cow, Hella and Secret Chiefs 3 and you're getting close. Add to that, each of those bands has fully downloaded every aspect about the other. Is it A.I. or just human freakin' creativity run amok? Well, i don't know but all i can say is this is a wild ride and an intoxicating musical head rush where so many avant-musical dreams are crammed into a single album's experience! It's melodic, it's dissonant, it's atonal, it's angular, it's rhythmic, it's chaotic, it's freakin' fun as hell! This album really showcases how well humans can co-create en masse like very few albums of the recent past. I'm literally blown away by how well this one came together. I'm gushing while it's rushing and while many feel like flushing it away all i can say is it's an acquired taste so please don't waste all your time if you're not based!

Also there's a bit of Oingo Boingo type of craziness to this. Danny Elfman sounds like an influence in the compositional flow with some tracks like "Aclowntrenós" reminding me of 
The Simpsons theme. What's crazy about this is this project balanced the accessible elements of prog with the crazy alienating factors. It's just super well done and anyone who loves avant-prog that doesn't compromise will totally love this. For any who need a ballad to catch their breath, this is not for you! This is music that goes for the avant-prog jugular without being complex for complexity's sake. This is music that is based on beautiful melodic flows that just happens to incorporate bizarre complexities to elevate it into a totally new level of progginess. One of my faves of 2022. Very much looking forward to the next offering of Señor BASTIÁN. Even a surprise Christmas song, LOL!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Greco Bastian is a Mexican composer and multi-instrumentalist who has attracted world-wide attention for the music he creates. The problem for Greco is that he's not a talented enough musician to actually play his own compositions. So between fans and fellow musicians alike telling him he needs help with this he finally reached out to the Avant world looking for help with this 2022 record. What a response!

Counting Greco we get six Mexican musicians on here as Greco adds effects to all these compositions in the studio. There are ten guests helping out and I'm familiar with eight of them so I'll mention them. Japan is well represented with Ryoko Ono from SAX RUINS on sax, Patrick Shiroishi from CORIMA on sax and the legendary drummer Tatsuya Yoshida from RUINS, KOREKYOJINN and KOENJIHYAKKEI. Who would have thought the X-LEGGED SALLY guitarist would help out from Belgium or Jean-Luc Plouvier from UNIVERS ZERO adding piano. Matt Lebofsky bass from MIRTHKON and SECRET CHIEFS 3, Vincent Sicot- Vantalon keyboards from UNIT WAIL and Emmett Elvin guitar and bass from GUAPO.

It's kind of cool that the first four tracks are the four longest pieces and the songs that feature almost all of the guest with the five shorter pieces featuring more the local musicians. Mexico has a very good Avant history with Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma leading that pack but NAZCA, DECIBEL, BANDA ELASTICA and many more have followed in these footsteps and maybe the brightest of them all is Greco Bastian who knows? It does come as advertised being frantic, uptempo but Greco always changes things up and makes it interesting.

I have to say this was love at first listen and I was worried about this. Having no vocals helps me as I'm not into that fast paced singing and sound we get so often in the Avant world. But hearing the opener "Proteo Revampirizado" for the first time relieved a lot of anxiety. Dense, complex and oh yeah there are vocals on the opener I forgot but they are almost in the background. Some intense sax from Ryoko here. "Zidane Racist" opens with all these synths and an uptempo sound that right away brought THE FLOWER KINGS to mind I kid you not, still does. Again dense and complex with so much going on. Two bass players here and some angular guitar later.

"Zeuhlito Lindo" is stacked with guests and continues that relentless pace. Plouvier adds piano after 4 minutes. That's three intense tracks in a row and the fourth one "Oniontown" while powerful at times gives us some space to breathe. The UNIT WAIL keyboardist is here while our Mexican musicians really shine with the bass and guitar especially. Lots of xylophone spread throughout the final five pieces but some variety within the Avant field. "D.A.S." is the first mid-paced tune but it's also the shortest at just over 2 minutes. The guitar is very distorted to open "Don't Open Till Xmas". The closer "Exit Filming For A Muse" might be the most impressive composition on here. When it kicks into gear we also get another melody cycling over top, just really impressive Mr. Bastian.

A very solid 4 stars and another great example of the talent that there is in Mexico.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Music for hummingbirds Frantic, relentless, amazing. Superb musicianship. The record deserves 3.5 stars just for the musicianship alone. Some of the song structures reminds me of the Japanese zeuhl group Ruins. Music is complex but it is not complex for complexity's sake. There is no aimless ... (read more)

Report this review (#2882894) | Posted by spleenache | Friday, February 17, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Music may be to your taste, but also may not be. I think here we have an album that I can't enjoy as others may. Proteo Revampirizado - starts frantically and it never lets go after this. The playing is superb, but I don't like to be thrown off all of the time. 7/10 Zidane Racist - What's wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2879356) | Posted by WJA-K | Monday, January 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A great surprise to discover the work of this Mexican musician, who somehow managed to invite for this album some of the best musicians of the genre, from representative and even legendary bands. The music is difficult to categorize in a few words, as it is full of changes not only in time but al ... (read more)

Report this review (#2871947) | Posted by klubitt | Friday, December 30, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was already familiar with this musician's previous works and honestly, although I recognized an outstanding musicality, I never took his compositions seriously because they were all constructed and interpreted by software that did not show emotions or inflections typical of music, like all human a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2870386) | Posted by acattl2016 | Friday, December 23, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Since 2022 is over, I consider it necessary to write a few lines of what, IMHO, is my favorite album of the previous year. With only 9 songs in just over 40 minutes, WITH A LITTLE HELL FROM MY FRIENDS is a great journey around an incalculable number of influences and names ranging from Magma, Zap ... (read more)

Report this review (#2869441) | Posted by MrLandlord | Tuesday, December 20, 2022 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of GRECO BASTIÁN "With a Little Hell from My Friends"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.