Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Estradasphere Quadropus album cover
3.30 | 39 ratings | 8 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mekapses Yitonisa (4:22)
2. Dubway (3:39)
3. King Krab Battle (8:31)
4. Speck (4:34)
5. Hardball (13:40)
6. A Car Ride In Idealitic Ethiopia (5:47)
7. Crystal Blue (3:40)
8. Jungle Warfare (5:42)
9. Body Slam (3:09)
10. At Least We'd Have Today (9:40)

Total Time: 62:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Jason Schimmel / guitars (acoustic, electric, baritone), banjo, piano, organ, synth, harpsichord, vocals, percussion, beatbox
- John Whooley / saxophones, flute, organ, vocals, beatbox
- Timb Harris / violin, viola, trumpet, guitar, mandolin, Turkish mandolin, percussion, vocals
- Tim Smolens / electric & acoustic basses, baritone guitar, piano, synth, vocals, percussion, violin
- Dave Murray / drums (1,6,9), vocals (8)

- Youri Raymond / vocals (8)
- Joel Robinow / vocals (10)
- Kevin Kmetz / guitar solo (8)
- Jeff Attridge / piano (4)
- Dale Ockerman / organ & piano (7)
- Trey Spruance / string arrangements (4)
- Ben Blechman / violin (4,10)
- Sarah Hart / viola (4,10)
- Aria DiSalvio / cello (4,10)
- Val Hall / trumpet (3)
- Richard Karst / trumpet (3)
- Scott Harris / trombone (3)
- Luke Kirley / bass trombone (3)
- Joel Ford / sax (3)
- Scott Norgren / sax (3)
- Paul Tarantino / sax (3)
- Wes Anthony / sax (3)
- John Thomas / tuba (3)
- Theo Mordey / drums (3-5)
- John Merryman / drums (8)
- Michael Shannon / percussion, dombek & tambourine (1-3,7)
- Doug Smolens / percussion (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Mike Bennewitz

CD Web Of Mimicry ‎- WoM013 (2003, US)

Thanks to licantropho for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ESTRADASPHERE Quadropus Music

ESTRADASPHERE Quadropus ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

ESTRADASPHERE Quadropus reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars As the title would have you guess, this is group's fourth album (although one of them is an EP), the now quartet is left without a drummer, even if the departing Dave Murray fills in when needed. The quartet develops their usual ethnic-sounding Avant-prog with the gypsy/East European blatant influences dominating some tracks and much more subtle on others. Their brand of Avant-prog is wide-scoped with pure folk (the opening Greek trad piece) with some wild horns (such as King Krab Battle, my fave), mixes quite easily electric and acoustic instruments, a twist of Flamenco (in the lengthy Hardball), some early (almost doo-wop) RnR (Crystal Blue), some Death/Black/Trash-metal (Jungle Warfare the bad Bodyslam) and rather surprising, it is sung, which is not that often the case.

Although Estradasphere's music is a bit out of the ordinary, it is also nothing groundbreaking, being a cross between some of Quebec's Avant (Miriodor, Rouge Ciel), some of Sweden's Avant-folk (In The Labyrinth and Ensemble Nimbus), Finland's crazy scene (Alamaailman Vasarat and Uzva or Belgium (Cro-Magnon). But nevertheless this is a very good album, with some often-excellent moments, but on the whole it is just another Avant-prog album, with its shares of surprises, but they are not necessarily good.

After this album, wind player Whooley will leave the group, being replaced by two new members making the next album with a very different line up: a sextet where the remaining Harris, Schimmel and Smolens are only half of the group. As for this album, I can't help but feeling that the group is out for a too demonstrative representation of their "huge abilities" and passe-partout easiness, in short: a bit of a show-off attitude that actually un-serves them a bit.

Review by laplace
2 stars To this reviewer, despite them employing a great cast of multi-instrumentalists and touching on positive influences - particularly Zappa, Oingo Boingo, rock Andaluz and the traditional folk music of any number of countries - Estradasphere's releases always seem like tastelessly absurd and eclectic compilations; in order to enjoy their albums you would need to share their peculiar senses of humour as well as have a taste for their distinctly hit and miss music. Quadropus is no different and there's barely a recognisable thread to the songs to suggest they need to occupy the same CD - had they been released as singles, Estradasphere would look markedly less avant-garde. ;P

The individual tracks are somewhat less experimental than the audaciously assorted way they are presented as a package; the upbeat folk song that serves as an opener is initially refreshing but simply poodles along the same sequence, gradually tiring in vibrancy until its close. Next we have a pseudo-techno-pop vignette seemingly crafted entirely from vocal samples - this song, as well as not being very good the first time and downright tiring on repeat plays, requires that you're in on the Estradasphere all-embracing genre joke. Basically the instrumental version of Weird Al.

"King Krab Battle" is a great piece of filmic orchestral (if medieval) marching score morphing into brassy funk-rock and although it dips somewhat around halfway in, it's the first piece on "Quadropus" that manages to hold this reviewer's attention. An album with tunes like this one throughout would be a much more satisfying listen than the somewhat frustrating pick'n'mix Estradasphere have assembled for us, as evidenced by the next two dire tracks, being a short, inexpertly-sung twelve-string ballad and a woefully overextended piece of ethnic jazz-rock which mostly serves as a bed for a solo that doesn't quite manage to take off.

And so it goes on; an album that offers up one homogenised genre after another yet doesn't allow you to settle thanks to the disjointedness of the whole affair. If you're looking for a CD of stand-alone songs from various genres, each somewhat simplified and made more approachable, then an album by a band such as Estradasphere or Secret Chiefs 3 would be an acceptable purchase - but aren't we already at saturation point with countless Zappa albums, Mr. Bungle's "California" and the more nuanced works of Miriodor? Distinctly second tier.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Here is the perfect example of a band that i really want to like more but they just lack an original edge to put them over the top for me. I immediately get that dejŠ vous feeling with the first track "Mekapses Yitonisa" which immediately puts me squarely in Middle Eastern influenced rock done much better by the Secret Chiefs 3. The fact is i've heard of this band for a long time and sampled a few tracks online and never been blown away but decided to take the plunge having found this fourth album QUADROPUS by ESTRADASPHERE at a ridiculously reasonable price at my local used music store. OK, so i took the plunge.

What i have found is that they fit perfectly on the Web Of Mimicry label for "mimicry' is really what they are all about except that unlike the bands they worship most, namely Mike Patton led Faith No More and Secret Chiefs 3, their influences are a little too pronounced on their sleeves and not weaved together in a brilliant manner. The frustration of this album is that everything is played extremely well and this is a very wonderful listen for every track takes you on a totally different musical journey, it's just that they don't manage to tie it together as beautifully as Mr Bungle and their other offshoots.

The second track actually brings The Manhattan Transfer to mind, while the third track "King Krab Battle" once again uses the SC3 as a template. Track four "Speck" follows the same SS3 although this template is translated into a Balkan Gypsy sound with outstanding instrumental interactions. "Hardball" is the longest track and excels at expanding the Balkan Gypsy sound into nooks and crannies of musicality hitherto unforeseen in the native culture of its origins but once again, this track sounds like an exact pathway that the SC3 would have conjured up.

At the end of the album we get a total change with "Crystal Blue" being a surf rock track that sounds like a hardcore Beach Boys song of the modern age. "Jungle Warfare" is an industrial death metal song that incorporates a nice sax solo and the finale "At Least We'd Have Today" finds the band doing their best Rage Against The Machine impression with some metal rap.

While i find everything on this album extraordinarily played and executed, i find zilch on this album to be very original. There are fine nuances of originality like jazz inclusions on board but each track just exemplifies styles of other artists that have been done much better by the original inventors. Having said that this is not an unpleasant album to listen to per se, but given the copycat approach displayed here i just can't give this album more than 3 stars. I realize that the SC3 similarities are because several members play in both bands but this isn't a satellite band of SC3 and i just wish they would create a distinct band sound since this is a different band.

Review by Wicket
5 stars It's damn near impossible to follow up a great album, especially when it damn near breaks every single musical convention you can think of.

Yet I still think Estradasphere did themselves proud with "Quadropus".

Right away, the songs are more static with the genre changes. Sure the opener "Mekapses Yitonisa" showcases their typical eastern influences spiced up with disco and metal flavorings, but right away it's less spastic than say "Meteorite Showers" or "Millennium Child". Even so, the band still figures out different directions to go musically that they haven't tread before. "Dubway" is an a capella outing that features some nasty beatboxing skills and even some hints of Raga? A really cool song with very few equals out there.

"King Crab Battle" begins very dramatically, like something out of a movie before breaking out into some "Incredibles"-style action jazz (one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever BTW). Spice it up with some heavy distorted chords, as per tradition, and end with the same motif as the beginning, but better because death metal. "Speck" follows up with a softer, mysterious approach, with haunting vocals and spooky strings, a strangely serious track from a not very serious at all band.

"Hardball" is the monster on the album, beginning with a fierce falsetto, that classic detective "wakka-diga" guitar tone and back into the eastern dance motifs. It features extended jam sections, heavy distorted chords, mellow atmospheric passages and even a flamenco spot towards the finish. It's not as disjointed as previous Estradasphere songs (the transitions are much smoother and fewer and far between), but it also doesn't add anything new to their sound than we've previously heard before. Not saying that's a bad thing, but I believe that tends to be the biggest knock on this album following such a gamechanger like "Buck Fever".

"A Car Ride in Idealistic Ethiopia" sounds like something you'd hear in a Bond film (or Archer). Dramatic atmosphere, mysterious strings and sax, fitting music for a spy I think. Nothing super crazy but that's ok, because "Crystal Blue" is just a nod to 60's mod rock and surf rock, while "Jungle Warfare" is a death metal brawl and "Bodyslam" is basically Rage Against The Machine meets Beastie Boys meets WWE. It's basically a song you'd walk out to if you were a pro wrestler and you're just ready to kick ass everywhere. The closing track "At Least We Have Today" is a throwaway atmospheric ballad of sorts that's like 2 minutes long with a hidden track halfway through (even though it's basically part 2 of the same song with like two minutes of silence for some reason).

So it is as good as "Buck Fever"? Certainly not, it doesn't span the genre catalog as much and it's a bit more calm and restrained than its schizophrenic predecessors. But because of that, the songs feel even more like normal songs. Each song has its own identity. Sure, you can knock it for not being original, but what's the point. When you're a band that has set its standards so high like this, there's only so many genres, sounds and influences you can add to your repertoire. That's why I like the 60's homage "Crystal Blue", the mosh-pit inducing "Bodyslam" and the a capella "Dubway". It's a series of new and fresh sounds added to their typical menagerie of eastern dance rhythms with jazz and death metal chords.

Say what you want. It ain't no "Buck Fever", but it's still even more polished and focused. Each song has a stand alone identity that's memorable and, like any Estradasphere album, you'll never hear anything like this from any other artist anywhere (unless it's a John Whooley side project).

(side note: check out the Santa Cruz All Stars on the internet Archive, Whooley joins guys from STS9 and Disco Biscuits among others any played only 7 shows with completely unrehearsed improvised jams, they're awesome. They even had an actual DJ scratching away).

Latest members reviews

3 stars Well boys, mark this one down as one of the 'must get' bands of modern prog. Neither they sounds like a clone of an earlier band; rather a mixture of different elements that all come together well. They are classed under 'Avant-RIO', admittedly a genre I don't know a lot about, but using d ... (read more)

Report this review (#338976) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Can you unscramble an egg? This is the question Estradasphere has been posed, or at least try to answer, on their Quadropus (with a wicked picture of the green 'pus fellow on the cover). This cover does look cool, and reminds me of some sort of jade ruin stone, or amulet, something epic-looki ... (read more)

Report this review (#159596) | Posted by cookieacquired | Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Estradasphere's 3rd (or 4th, if you count their EP) release is the last we will have with Dave Murray and John Whooley, which leaves the band much at a loss for members. While this album certainly isn't bad, it lacks the flare and creativity of their first 2 CDs. While there are some wonderfu ... (read more)

Report this review (#141058) | Posted by Drakk | Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am really pleased with this album. This was my first Estradaspere album on my list and i have to say i am happy with it. Although i have heard other songs by them before this album that were on Buck Fever that i really enjoyed, i liked the way they took this album. Soft, it had feeling and l ... (read more)

Report this review (#121351) | Posted by fungusucantkill | Tuesday, May 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ESTRADASPHERE "Quadropus"

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.