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Cassiber biography
An experimental, jazz and electronic trio in the tradition of Henry COW, CASSIBER came to life in the early 80's when COW's own drummer Chris Cutler got together with two Frankfurt musicians, namely composer Heiner Goebbels on violin and piano, and sampler extraordinaire Christoph Anders on vocals and guitars. Alfred Harth later joined them on sax for a couple of albums and then (the late) Masami Shinoda took over sax duties during a memorable live performance in Tokyo in 1992.

CASSIBER's music is fractured, complex and very difficult to get into. Mostly improvised (except for a few lyrics they kept on hand for inspiration), their material consists of sampled mayhem, free jazz, industrial noise, declaimed vocals (Christoph Ander's vocals are truly an acquired taste), newsreel clips and the likes. The rare unity they attained with their third album in 1988, "A Face We All Know", makes it their most powerful release to date and is considered their masterpiece (its theme is about the collapse of the Berlin Wall). The double album "Cassiber - Live in Tokyo" is a true farewell documentary: disk one captures the band's only visit to Japan and their very last concert together, featuring guest saxophonist Masami Shinoda who died soon after. Disk two is a radical reworking/remixing of the same material by Otomo Yoshida & Ground Zero that make it sound like an entirely different album altogether.

Strange but well worth the effort if you can handle the weirdest, most bizarre RIO/avant-garde stuff you've ever dared slip into a cd player.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Rer Megacorp 2014
$58.61 (used)
Live in Tokyo 1992Live in Tokyo 1992
Recommended Records 1998
$9.76 (used)
A Face We All Know by CassiberA Face We All Know by Cassiber
$36.80 (used)
The Way It was by CassiberThe Way It was by Cassiber
Rer Megacorp
$36.14 (used)
Cassiber Box 1982-1992 by Cassiber (2013-12-10)Cassiber Box 1982-1992 by Cassiber (2013-12-10)
$124.01 (used)
Beauty and the Beast by CassiberBeauty and the Beast by Cassiber
Recommended Records
$26.60 (used)
Box set
$35.35 (used)
Man or MonkeyMan or Monkey
riskant/EIGELSTEIN Musikproduktion
$49.97 (used)
Perfect WorldsPerfect Worlds
Rer 2013
$19.70 (used)
Way It WasWay It Was
Rer USA 2013
$17.74 (used)

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CASSIBER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

CASSIBER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 20 ratings
Man or Monkey
3.83 | 21 ratings
Beauty and the Beast
4.02 | 18 ratings
Perfect Worlds
3.89 | 19 ratings
A Face We All Know

CASSIBER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 6 ratings
Cassiber - Live In Tokyo

CASSIBER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CASSIBER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 4 ratings
The Cassiber Box (1982-1992)

CASSIBER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Perfect Worlds by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.02 | 18 ratings

Perfect Worlds
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Universs

5 stars As Far all output of Cassiber is exceptional, this one is my personal favorite. Ugly Beauty of Music and absolutely demented lyrics about isolation , anxiety of Human Race in whole makes this jam one take breathing. This is first album without participating of Alfred Harth. Pity such great talent leave project, but some advantages thankfully appeared. Last three pals were obligated to reinvent upproach and sound is overtly stripped down more concentrated on the story. The most outstanding tracks are In A Room with absurdist lyrics in the vein of late Samuel Beckett and of course last powerful anthem I Try To Reach You, wich become permanent closer in Cassiber concerts. Anyway it is one of kind outing deserving 6 or 7 stars in PA system comparable to mostly average music presented here.
 Beauty and the Beast by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.83 | 21 ratings

Beauty and the Beast
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Cassiber's debut album was originally intended to be a one-off, but shortly after its release they were invited to play at the Frankfurt Jazz Festival and further live work followed. A couple of years after Man or Monkey they recorded Beauty and the Beast, which was created using the same methodology as before - improvised composition - but their experience as a performing band had made a difference to their music; on this occasion there was a greater sense of coherence both within the individual pieces and across the album as a whole.

As on their previous outing the album featured a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks, although on this occasion Chris Cutler's texts were not used as extensively as before. The use of electronics was also more prominent this time around, with cassette recorded voices woven into the fabric of several tracks. Robert, the second track, features a brief snippet of Captain Beefheart reciting The Dust Blows Forward, while elsewhere the vocals seem to have been recorded from German news broadcasts, and for the most part this technique is very effective; on later albums Cassiber would use samplers and electronics even more prominently. Two cover versions are included: Und Ich Werde Nicht Mehr Sehen is a Hans Eisler piece, while At Last I Am Free is a song by Chic that was also covered by Robert Wyatt on Nothing Can Stop Us. At Last I Am Free is one of the album's highlights and manages to be faithful to the spirit of the original but also has the same uncompromising RIO sound as the rest of the album. The more 'free' improvisations veer into some decidedly abstract territory, but the album is sequenced so that they are contrasted with more accessible pieces and many of the tracks segue into each other, creating a constantly shifting mood. There are also moments of real beauty, particularly from Goebell's piano and Harth's saxophone, although any lyrical passages are brief and there is usually something loud, discordant or disturbing to provide contrast.

Beauty & the Beast is an uncompromising piece of work, but it has stood the test of time rather better than Man or Monkey. It's interesting to compare it with Skeleton Crew's debut album, which was released at around the same time and which also made extensive use of taped vocals. Both are very much products of their time, RIO meeting post punk experimentalism, and both see former members of Henry Cow engaging with new developments in music and remaining progressive in the truest sense of the word. If you like one, you'll probably like the other; Beauty & the Beast can be recommended to anybody who likes 80s avant rock and indeed to anybody inclined to try something adventurous for a change.

 Man or Monkey by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.28 | 20 ratings

Man or Monkey
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Cassiber's debut offering was an odd affair in more ways than one. It was originally released as two 45 rpm 12" discs, with each side of the album having a playing time of 12 - 16 minutes. Was it a double mini album, a double ep or what? Once you got past the unconventional format the music itself was unusual even by RIO standards; Chris Cutler had never played with the other 3 musicians before, and the idea was to improvise songs and compositions - only the lyrics (by Cutler) were written before the recording began. The results were often dazzling, although Cassiber would go on to achieve greater things.

The instrumentation on this occasion was largely acoustic and relatively conventional; guitar/vocal, piano/violin, sax/trombone and drums with only occasional bursts of the electronics which would be a more prominent feature of their later albums. Tracks 1 - 6, which took up disc 1, are relatively accessible and feature most of the album's vocals. Christoph Anders does not sing the lyrics so much as declaim them, and in some cases it sounds like he's reading them aloud for the first time, although somehow this fits quite nicely with the general aesthetic of the music. As Sean Trane mentioned in his review the stand out is probably Our Colourful Culture, which was set to music which had already been composed. It tears along at a frantic pace and is oddly reminiscent of some of Robert Wyatt's more uptempo numbers - perhaps it's the jazzy piano and feverish drumming. The second half of the album is mostly instrumental (none of Cutler's lyrics are used) and moves deep into the free improvisation side of RIO that Henry Cow and Zammla Mammaz Manna explored a few years previously. These pieces are sometimes hard work, especially the 16 minute title track, but there are moments which make it worth persevering with, especially Django vergibt and Die Verunreinigung des Flusses ist gerade noch ertraeglich which were on side 4 of the vinyl original; Die Verunreinigung... in particular features some wonderfully expressive sax from Harth.

Man or Monkey ultimately promises a little more than it actually delivers, but even without the dense and difficult title track there is still a vinyl album's worth of good and occasionally inspired 80s RIO with some superb playing. The unorthodox, improvisation based approach was always going to be risky, and it's a testimony to the skill of all concerned that so much of the resulting music worked so well. Good, but non essential - newcomers would be better advised to start with Beauty & the Beast.

 Man or Monkey by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.28 | 20 ratings

Man or Monkey
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars After their Belgian adventures with Aksak Maboul and the Honeymoon Killers, the ex-Henry Cow duo of Frith and Cutler parted ways and the drummer headed eastbound to Germany and wound up in Cassiber, while Frith pulled in a stunning Massacre album in New York.

The idea behind this record was to enter the studio with only a handful ofv text and lyrics ready and it was up to singer's Ander's discretion or needs to use them, with only one set of lyrics being adapted to an already-established music, the Carribean-laced Colourful Culture, which happens to be one of the better tracks on the album along with Red Shadow. A good deal of tracks are pure free-jazz improves, most of which can be quite indigestible (Gangelangen or the title track). Sticking out a bit awkwardly is a Bach adaptation (O Cure Me) which can sound like some Kraftwerk with added improvised violin and sax lines, but this a real welcome sweetie after some real inaccessible tracks. While you can see where Cassiber is heading in tracks like Django (as in Reinhardt if you judge Frith's guitars completely imbedded in other instruments), it is still quite difficult to grasp how the musicians could actually be really satisfied with some of those takes. Another fairly accessible track is the second last Verungreiningun track where Cutler's drumming takes the show, but he is well assisted by bassist and keyboardist Goebbels .

Since I discovered their respective paths in the early 90's (some 10 years after the releases of these albums), I always wondered if FF and CC were not in competition to make or participate in the weirdest and most obtuse albums. It would appear to me that in regard with Frith's massacre album, Cutler's Cassiber won this round easily.

 Man or Monkey by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.28 | 20 ratings

Man or Monkey
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ilia

5 stars A really powerful emotional album. Not like another cold RIO-album. Screams of vocalist hurts your soul. And the's so dinamic and devastating. A masterpiece of RIO and in my opinion the best album of all Cutler's projects ... Included Henry cow.
 Perfect Worlds by CASSIBER album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.02 | 18 ratings

Perfect Worlds
Cassiber RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by MikeEnRegalia
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is a strange album ... I listened to it a lot more than ten years ago and had completely forgotten about it, and today I noticed that Cassiber are listed here.

Well, the whole album is telling a more or less coherent story, on the borderline between spoken words (partially German) with sound effects and music. It is done in a very artsy way, very avant-garde ... it reminds me of obscure Zappa tracks like "you call this music?", which are really probing how much tolerance the audience has.

Let me quote Kevin Gilbert: "Fuck 'em all, this is art". This is a really great - yet quite short - sound collage, recommended to fans of Henry Cow, Frank Zappa and anyone with a high tolerance level ...

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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