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Crossover Prog • Lithuania

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Argo biography
ARGO's founder ,one of the greatest modern Lithuanian composer Giedrius Kuprevicius (b. 1944) was graduated by Lithuanian Music Academy (composition) in 1968 and worked as music teacher in Kaunas College Of Music. Still since 1957 he has played the Kaunas carillon (and in 1998 was appointed Kaunas City head carillonist). In 1975 he wrote one of the most popular musical in Lithuania,"Fire Hunt and Beaters", which was staged also in Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. The composer also writes music in traditional classical genres: operas, symphonies chamber works, oratorios, vocal cycles, etc.

In late 70-s he was attracted with electronic music and was one the very first musician and composer, experimented with electronic organ "Vilnius-5". ARGO ( full name "electronic music group ARGO") was formed at the Kaunas Musical Theatre in 1979.It included members of the Theatre orchestra. Giedrius Kuprevicius, the artistic director of the group, thus describes the activity of ARGO: The predominance of electronics in the creative work of the group bears out our desire to master and artistically interpret the possibilities of modern musical instruments. We are the first who are entrusted with testing the Vilnius-5 model of a new electronic organ. We are sure of good prospects of the instrument" .

The group takes part in performances of the Musical Theatre, has prepared a concert-show "The Deepest Well Reflects the Sky", which later became band's first recording. "We sought to make use of wide possibilities afforded by recording equipment, DISCOPHONY consists as if of two musical layers: disco-intended for entertainment and based on dance rhythms, and -phony-music for listening with predominating, electronic sound". The vocal part is interpreted in an instrumental way. Julius Vilnonis, the leader of the ARGO group, makes his debut with one of the compositions (A3). If the whole work of ARGO could be compared to days of week, then Saturday would be the day of Discophony.
Second album, "SVIESA" (The Light), is possibly their best work. Light combination of electronic sounds and jazzy arrangements, with jazzy vocals as well, very melodic, accessible, but enough complex under the skin.

Later band recorded two more conceptual albums, each was presented as theatrical show as well. Giedrius missed his interest to electronics, and left the band (which was disbanded very soon, in 1987) for composing operas, music for films and some experi...
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ARGO discography

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

3.60 | 10 ratings
3.82 | 9 ratings
3.67 | 6 ratings
Zemė L

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ARGO Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sviesa by ARGO album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.82 | 9 ratings

Argo Crossover Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Giedrius Kuprevicius, composer and Argo's founder, played carillon in his hometown of Kaunas from he was 13.Later graduated by Music Academy he became renowned composer and author of first Lithuanian rock-opera (1975). In late 70-s he became attracted with electronic music and founded Argo as "electronic music group".

"Sviesa" ("The Light") is band's second album. Even if title "electronic music band" is placed even on LP's cover, electronic sound is only part of common album's music. Such accent on "electronic" was understandable more as fashion of time.

In fact, Argo was quite classic band with guitar/bass/drums plus two synth/keys on board. Main attraction (for the time) was first domestic electronic organ "Vilnius-5" ( by the way produced on secret Soviet military electronics factory as "side-product"). Giedrius classic musical education is obvious in music - even if he combines it with strong jazzy influences. All the music is light, sunny ( in Northern Europe sunny summer's manner) melodic instrumental compositions (with some boy's chorus vocals in places). Plenty of electric organ/synth light spacey effects are more accessories, filling the space. Besides of keyboards, guitar/bass/drums trio plays relaxed, a bit dreamy progressive jazzy prog rock you can often find in Western European albums from early 70-s.

I think big advance of album's music is that electronic keyboards sound never overload true music of classic jazz-rock section. As a result listener hear rare balance between early progressive jazz-rock and electric organ/synth sound. Whenever all music is very melodic, easy accessible, all the album is pleasant , but never cheese.

Never re-released on CD, this album stays a collectors rarity for fans of early Eastern European prog.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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