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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 Ł1000 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 26/10/2019

Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)

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

4.35 | 1813 ratings
HOT RATS
Zappa, Frank
4.46 | 111 ratings
HÄXAN
Art Zoyd
4.39 | 183 ratings
ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
Cardiacs
4.31 | 1095 ratings
THE GRAND WAZOO
Zappa, Frank
4.31 | 1108 ratings
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Zappa, Frank
4.29 | 318 ratings
A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW
Cardiacs
4.28 | 383 ratings
SING TO GOD
Cardiacs
4.28 | 390 ratings
UZED
Univers Zero
4.28 | 303 ratings
WESTERN CULTURE
Henry Cow
4.41 | 70 ratings
LETTERS HOME
News From Babel
4.40 | 73 ratings
SIRENS AND SILENCES / WORK RESUMED ON THE TOWER
News From Babel
4.30 | 168 ratings
HUONO PARTURI
Höyry-Kone
4.31 | 138 ratings
DUCK STAB / BUSTER & GLEN
Residents, The
4.33 | 109 ratings
BOOK M
Secret Chiefs 3
4.26 | 340 ratings
HERESIE
Univers Zero
4.62 | 30 ratings
PLAYS STANDARDS
Ground Zero
4.31 | 127 ratings
DECEIT
This Heat
4.28 | 196 ratings
IN EXTREMIS
Thinking Plague
4.24 | 335 ratings
MĹLTID
Samla Mammas Manna
4.29 | 133 ratings
TRISKAĎDÉKAPHOBIE
Present

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

MYRORNAS KRIG
Myrbein
ZYPRESSEN
Zypressen
THE VIOLENCE OF AMATEURS
French TV
GRAVITY
Frith, Fred

Latest RIO/Avant-Prog Music Reviews


 Furvent by GRAND SBAM, LE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 28 ratings

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Furvent
Le Grand Sbam RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Their debut from a year earlier blew my socks off, this not so much. I'm really surprised at the differences between the two. "Furvent" was released in 2020 and is based on a novel written by a leading neuroscientist. This record is surprisingly uniform with each track blending into the next with the female vocals and piano leading the way most of the time. The POIL trio who are the core of this band add vocals this time around but the two outstanding female singers just aren't nearly as impressive here.

An eight piece band this time from a six piece on their debut. The vibes/percussion player from the debut is gone unfortunately replaced by a marimba/toms/bells/gong player. They added a second keyboardist along with a cimbalom or hammered dulcimer player. The debut was 37 1/2 minutes this one is 60 minutes and includes an almost 19 minute opener. That track sort of encapsulates the whole album. I have to say I am disappointed with this one and I know the debut set the bar high but this one pales in comparison.

"Li(Le Feu)" the fifth track is the one that stands out in a positive way. Finally a song I can connect with and some actual depth to the music although mostly late. Still piano/vocal led though. Man that closer is one I cannot listen to. Sounding Spanish it is completely different from the rest and a tough one to get through. I can actually hear the bass on "Ken" but not for long.

This album just isn't as avant or as powerful as the debut and there were so many brilliant ideas on the first one. I can't go 4 stars here.

 Vaisseau Monde by GRAND SBAM, LE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.27 | 19 ratings

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Vaisseau Monde
Le Grand Sbam RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 4.5 stars. This is the debut of LE GRAND SBAM out of France. They are a six piece and include the band POIL who are a trio and the composers here. They are a drum/keys/bass setup with a female vibes/perussionist and she adds so much. She's all over it and it all works so well. Finally we get the two female singers who are the stars of the show you could say. The arranger of the vocal parts deserves an award for how varied, interesting and innovative the arrangements are. The girls then "on point" and absolutely nail it. I would have loved to have heard the rehearsals for this recording. This is truly a vocal display unlike anything I have heard. The vocals match the music here in every way. Complex and challenging music with excellent contrasts and they take us places unexpectant, as do the vocals in the same ways.

Surprisingly spacey this record but there's also that Japanese Zeuhl style that POIL do so well featured here at times. This trio is obsessed with Japanese music including their two albums this year with Ueda. And certainly the way the album opens with that explosion of hard and fast outbursts brings the Japanese to mind. Thankfully this album isn't all like this as impressive as all that is they don't over do it. This was released in 2019 and clocks in at 37 1/2 minutes far shorter than their followup album "Furvent" at 60 minutes. I do prefer this debut to the second one for what it's worth.

Man this is a lot to describe and honestly it has to be heard to be believed at times. Again the vocals match the intensity and scope of the music which is saying something. Such an entertaining record and we get five tracks of which four are around the same length of 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 minutes then we get that 12 minute second song. I am blown away by this record! It goes right into my "best of" Avant pile. POIL just seem to come up with these ideas no one else thinks of and then proceeds to compose this incredible music of which the vocals are often key and certainly not an afterthought to their prodigy-like playing. Not perfect but I'm bumping this up to 5 stars for their incredible ideas.

 Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.35 | 13 ratings

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Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProAnastasia

5 stars Since I`ve listened a new album by Roz Vitalis I want to say that Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt is a breath of fresh air, a dose of sun in a whirlwind life. I regret that my English is not so good to express the feelings as I would like to. Any language, in fact, is a poorer instrument to express feelings than music. This music is light, maybe even the most lightful by Roz Vitalis I`ve heard, despite the dark circumstances of its creation. I believe it is so because it`s based on hope, love and other light feelings. I`m not an expert to judge the technical part, I can just say that it is pure and wonderful music.
 Living Machine by STANLEY, MARK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Living Machine
Mark Stanley RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars By all accounts [certainly hyperbole, sorry], Living Machine was Mark Stanley's fourth studio album. Something I learned in getting this review ready has to do with the basic familiarity of his surname: Mark is the first cousin once removed of famed Grateful Dead engineer and acid-hound/master acid-fabricator Owsley Stanley! Pretty wild. Mark Stanley has performed with and appeared on recordings by such groups and artists as The Muffins and Spookey Ruben. And although seemingly near-impossible for me to verify in this or prior instances, his Wikipedia article lays claim to his founding membership of Alt Metal supergroup Handsome (featuring members from Helmet, Quicksand, the Cro-Mags and Murphy's Law). The language used there and elsewhere also admittedly doesn't negate this necessarily, though the omission is... notable. Mark Stanley's output, according to my earlier listenings, is eclectic, to say the least. I first came into contact through his collaboration with Avant-garde Jazz vocalist Carla Diratz. And then the song which I subsequently became thoroughly obsessed over for a few years (even now), "Silos" off 2004's 9 Volt, is tactful, of-the-time, radio-ready Power Pop (which I do certainly love). But also the way "Silos" ends: we get a solid guitar solo from Mark, which only gets better and better, almost morphing into something out of Guitar Fusion ether; like, truly masterful. Anyhow...

Speaking of ether, our title track, "Living Machine", begins in a most indie-ominous, psychedelic-apparent kind of way. Knowing now, more assuredly, I'm astounded to know that he plays all instruments here. This is a heavier alternative number, happily in the world post-Grunge (I mean, we did get some solid and more-than-effective riffs in the late-90s and early-00s, did we not?). He utilizes a sort of fakeout following each verse, all coming to a total halt after what feels like half a guitar riff. To those who know--and I feel strongly you should--the track sounds a lot like The Posies or Jason Faulkner (for a time of Jellyfish; check The Grays if you're into this stuff). It's progressive in its overall scope and in its sonic eclecticism; but no RIO here, if it even must be said. Up next is "Mr. Lady Gray", approaching something more in line with Roots Rock Alternative (again, you know, of the time, broadly). I will say though, the markedly upbeat nature of the chorus has a very cool effect, if not cooling; we're maybe owing to the Kinks, maybe the Hollies. I definitely sense, weirdly to me, a shared sonic lineage with Beardfish (I don't feel that's pulled out of thin air on my part). "Ray" certainly follows generally in this mode and feel; very easy-breezy Pop Rock. We aren't all over the place yet, but think even Gin Blossoms here, or dare I say Third Eye Blind? Good track; nowhere near Prog.

And as we stray further away from that general mark, the start to "Misery Train" returns us to vaguely post- Grunging Americana, with slinky, chattering acoustic guitar and occasional, simple piano arpeggio. Like, this could have appeared on Alice In Chains' Unplugged performance? Maybe not quite. I don't feel Mark is particular apt at making things sound bad, like this track certainly sounds great and he's very good at what he does, but this is an immediate least favorite; its dark ethos will appeal more to others. In a sort of Elliot Smith kinda way, "Home" sort of continues in this down-and-out Rootsy vibe; some slide guitar and harmonica herein. Smith tended to make these sort of moods a bit more interesting, though. Finally out of that, erh, slump, we're back into finer form on "It's Not Really Me", calling immediately to mind early Mike Keneally, but also early Radiohead? I guess I should know more early Radiohead before claiming anything like this (more complex than anything I know from them). The vocal harmonies are quirky, odd, dissonant. So it's delicious stuff. His guitar work here is likewise mystifying, and that's not where the Mike comparisons could end. Awesome use of synth in the bridge, including a truly f*cked up electronica being summoned, all before he whips out his guitar and shows us his chops for the first time on the EP. Finally, "The Keeper" brings a different side, with light jazzy inflections and changes. So, take a dark Fusion (or even early Steely Dan?) and combine it with adventurous Alternative Pop Rock, if you can picture it.

Prog or not, by my still-ignorant estimation, a fairly good representation to Mark Stanley's sound, at least for a time, can be found here in Living Machine. Certainly was glad to give it another, perhaps more proper spin.

 Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.35 | 13 ratings

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Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by newdawnofprog

4 stars Roz Vitalis is a Russian band formed in 2001, whose main composer Ivan Rozmainsky needs no introduction to the world of modern progressive rock. The band has many albums behind them, but they attracted special attention with the albums that were released through Lizard Records: "The Hidden Man of the Heart" (2018) and "Lavoro d'Amore" (2015). In 2023, they return with a new album called "Quia Nesciunt Quid Faciunt", which was also released through Lizard records. The translation of the album name is "they know not what they do", and the name is inspired by the horrible and negative vents in the world. As for the music, the band continues the series of successful albums, and we have a very high-quality album filled with many fantastic compositions.

Musical ideas lie somewhere between eclectic, chamber, RIO/Avant, symphonic prog and Jazz. Throughout the music, the band repeatedly combines interesting harmonics, repetitive notes and chord patterns, with very complex ideas, and in this way they get a combination of a very demanding authentic soundscape and an immensely atmospheric, even hypnotic landscape, which is based on a very disciplined approach. Mathematically precise variations of sound patterns produce the desired effect and pieces seem light-footed and intense at the same time. A somber, dark atmosphere is interspersed with more meditative passages, made up of gentle arpeggios, but all that changes and becomes bombastic with a much more sustained and aggressive rhythm section. The amount of work done on keyboards is immense but directly proportional to the wonder that these pieces generate, between dry breaks and interweaving with a guitar and trumpet that create heavy, dreamy, and slightly atmospheric parts. The music is densely layered and tantalizing to decompose and reassemble in one's mind, listening after listening, melodic drawings are clearly intelligible, the atmospheres are enveloping and the symphonic elements are fantastic, rich but unobtrusive or unnecessarily gaudy.

The emotional level through compositions is capable of sudden and passionate outbursts, moments of profound tension and restlessness, as well as unexpected sweetness in evoking confused, distant emotions. The passion, mixed with sweetness and a constant sense of emotional tension runs throughout the entire album. The music gradually twists into a kind of spiral in which we have continuous flows of sounds. All in all, he pieces are expanding every idea to the maximum. The music is introspective and mysterious, but always with a thread of suspense that however preludes more stormy solutions with sounds that begin to roll gradually, increasing their power. Turning melodies into musical phrases, and the small oscillations of the melody around the same axis make the compositions flowing and direct, perfectly outlining that complex and layered ideology that the band wants to show us.

"Premonition" in its nine minutes shows all the power of the band, it begins with a melancholic-chamber motif, which leads its melodic structure very briefly and then comes to the thematic resolution and the band overturns and brings first-class, astounding harmonic solutions and wild escapades that complement each other perfectly, so there are many musical solutions that will leave you amazed with diverse spread of surprises. The album flows through an immense abundance of powerful prog vitalities, there is melancholy, dark harmonies, atmospheric/hypnotic phases, and subliminally bubbling abysses in the powerful instrumental language of this inspired band. Every quiet and loud note is full of passion and this album deserves your time.

 Deceit by THIS HEAT album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.31 | 127 ratings

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Deceit
This Heat RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars An historically important album that received virtually no notice or attention at the time of its release, this post-punk classic found musicians Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen collaborating with friend (and untrained-musician) Gareth Williams to create this album in the confines of their own former-manufacturing plant-converted-to-recording studio. The musicians say that at the time they were making this album they had a firm belief that they were going to die. The tired, angry, angst-filled "post-punk" spirit informs each and every one of these cynical, disconsolate creations. Very critical of social political forms, trends, and events of the time.

1. "Sleep" (2:15) (4.5/5)

2. "Paper Hats" (6:03) amazing bass with crazed Eno/Heads/Belew-like vocal. (9.25/10)

3. "Triumph" (2:56) (9/10)

4. "SPQR" (3:29) group chanting about being Roman over dynamic drums and frenetic rhythm guitar strumming. (8.75/10)

5. "Cenotaph" (4:40) here the band sound like a cross between 1970s BRIAN ENO, TALKING HEADS, GANG OF FOUR, and Bill Laswell's MATERIAL--though perhaps on the bored side due to the affect expressed in the vocal performances. (8.875/10)

6. "Shrink Wrap" (1:41) some traditional tribal African rhythms and chants form the foundation for this. A bit like some of the British bands on Peter Gabriel's first issue of music from his WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festivals (like XTC). (4.375/5)

7. "Radio Prague" (2:22) with the in-and-out cuts into the voice tracks the band is perhaps trying to convey how sequestered this (at the time) Communist country was (perceived) existing behind the Iron Curtain. (No rating cuz it is no song.)

8. "Makeshift Swahili" (4:05) more pseudo African rhythms and sounds with English words being screamed over the top open this song. After about 1:50, there is a shift into more British musical form (and then another at 2:30 into more punk-like form). Interesting. And creative. (8.75/10)

9. "Independence" (3:43) an interesting form of expression for the choral reading of American Declaration of Independence. Why the music is so plodding and the affect of vocalists so disinterested and tired is curious. (Perhaps they're meant to sound drunk--singing in a pub as one would a sea shanty.) Clever if bewildering. (8.875/10)

10. "A New Kind Of Water" (4:58) bass drum three-beat heart beat with cymbal play, repeated single stroke bass and guitar chord and weird drunken chanting over the top until the two-minute mark when the music gels into something more akin to a rock 'n' roll song. This is obviously a lyrics-driven song; too bad I don't comprehend lyrics. (8.75/10)

11. "Hi Baku Shyo (Suffer Bomb Disease)" (4:04) creepy-weird monster voice noises beneath which an accordion plays an occasional arpeggio or two. Yes, the human vocalizations could be construed as a person dying some horrifically painful death (with flies buzzing around to eat the decaying flesh) as per someone who'd been bombed, napalmed, or even exposed to radioactive fallout, but, really: is this necessary. (8.66667/10)

Total Time: 40:16

This is my first exposure to the existence of this band much less their sound and discography. My impression is that this is an album that sounds totally like another Brian Eno project--maybe with his own musician friends from the 1970s or with members of Talking Heads' expanded format (e.g. Adrian Belew), very oriented to rhythm and lyric not necessarily melody (though chant is a modality often used herein). I really liked this listening experience: the creators have very similar complaints and worries that I've had over the course of my lifetime. Plus, I really appreciate the passionate forms of expression the trio use to make their pleas known. A very powerful, haunting experience. (I haven't been able to get the moods and ideas out of my head since hearing it.) Though musically this may not be a collection of truly masterful songs, as a piece of art expression the truest emotions of the human experience this is spectacular and much appreciated.

After listening to this album for the second and third times I began getting an appreciation for how creative, dedicated, and influential this band was. I feel as if I have a better read on where "post-punk" bands like black midi and Black Country, New Road are coming from.

B/four stars; some incredibly inventive ideas and expressions occasionally marred by lack of musical familiarity or crudity.

 Guitar Solos by FRITH, FRED album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.20 | 24 ratings

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Guitar Solos
Fred Frith RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by alex_newgrass

4 stars A strange story: My brother, who mostly listens to fairly accessible 1990s alternative rock, loves the opening track off this album. Then again, he also likes Captain Beefheart and black midi, so I think he just has a hidden taste for crazy avant-prog. The opening track doesn't sound much like the rest of this album, though. It's more of a jaunty randomized atonal version of the Super Mario theme for 90 seconds. The rest of it is sparse drones and improvisation, with the occasional stranger sounds like on No Birds seeping through the already unique sheen of noise. I'd argue what he does here is more understandable (maybe not accessible) to the average person than Van Halen or the like, but that's a discussion for another day. All in all, this album is a real head-turner, some sounds with guitars that I haven't really heard replicated. Like, what is going on in Glass c/w Steel, or Heat c/w Moment, or Not Forgotten, or...
 Dux in a Row by RASCAL REPORTERS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2023
4.17 | 3 ratings

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Dux in a Row
Rascal Reporters RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by newdawnofprog

4 stars Rascal Reporters released their album "Dux in a Row" on November 3rd, which consists of works written in the 70's that were reborn on this album and as such represent an excellent mix of classic and new sound of progressive rock. These reworked compositions exude not only incredible and complex musicality, but also the beauty and care that is woven into them. This album was released by áMARXE, and it is possible to order a physical double CD version which, in addition to this album, also includes the band's latest work "The Strainge Case of Steve". Rascal Reporters take us on a fascinating and engaging journey in which you will be catapulted into a labyrinth with obstacles and moments of suspense, a cascade of sounds that sometimes remains suspended on avant-garde plots and then opens up to fluctuating intertwining of rhythms and melodies , all the way to irony and lightness that is typical of the Canterbury scene. This band launches us into an engaging and epic themes. This is a work of rare beauty, perfect synergy between song format and experimentation. The musical taste is impeccable and there are numerous changes in tones between the various parts of the pieces, which is always in continuous growth thanks to an incredible collaboration of all musicians. A crazy and strangely fascinating album where the boundaries between the instruments and the compositional approach are laying the foundations of something new, music without genre definition and without structural or formal limits, it is a complex architecture that, even in all its extreme approaches, still manages to be accessible. The compositions given to us by these musicians are presented through decidedly complex pieces full of excellent musical moments, which represent quite strong elements of many prog spheres. Through listening you can feel how the band hypnotically shows the incredibly cohesive interpretation of an eclectic approach with a Canterbury vein. Also, the impetuosity of the aforementioned is sometimes set aside, and then we have unmistakable experimental flavor, as well as delicate and dreamy atmospheres. The deep musical passion cultivated by the band is clearly evident, and in their compositions, they show exceptional technical endowment, which does not end only in the mere speed of execution but is also evident in the refined cleanliness of the sound. The compositions are sometimes somewhat schizophrenic but never to the point of losing the sense of direction, given that they are flooded by a lot of influence, as well as with a little chain of movements of an indefinable avant-garde genre. The compositional approach in many moments presents more mysterious folds, the keyboard explores the octaves in an ascending and descending sense, thus creating a psychedelic and obscurely jazzy atmosphere. A fantastic approach of creating atmospheres, where in certain moments we have a combination of positive and dangerous feelings at the same moment. This was achieved with those background sounds that support the main themes that slowly build up. The group has the good taste to diversify its subject and to embrace a good number of atmospheres. There are various electronic inputs for floating and cloudy sounds, rhythmic patterns, sonority, and crazy experimental moments, all united in landscapes that will enchant you. Both albums are assembled precisely and in a fantastic way, the group seems to give little space to improvisation, the point is that everything is fascinating for its changing colors and imaginative games. Beautiful albums, with attention to detail, in which nothing seems to be the result of chance.

 Fades by CHEER-ACCIDENT album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.88 | 24 ratings

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Fades
Cheer-Accident RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. CHEER ACCIDENT out of Chicago have been playing music since the early eighties and have well over 20 albums to their name. "Fades" was released in 2018 and was their 19th studio album at the time. This is my favourite album from them edging out 2011's "No Ifs, And Or Dogs" and 2009's "Fear Draws Misfortune". An impressive trio of records that encapsulates what this band is all about. "Fear Draws Misfortune" might be their best instrumental work but "Fades" blows it up vocally, so much better with many guests helping out as well here. "No Ifs, And Or Dogs" sort of sits in the middle of these two both vocally and instrumentally.

The band calls this their "Kraut-Pop" record and it does groove with some outstanding vocals throughout. We still get some odd ball moments and hey I hear harmonium, bassoon, baritone sax, strings and the like, so there's that. Over 20 artists involved in the making of this. The opener "Done" is not a favourite but I acknowledge it's a great introduction to the type of music you are going to hear and maybe the most commercial sounding of the ten songs as well. High pitched synths don't do a lot for me.

Having said that the next four tracks create a high water mark few have hit when you combine the melodic with the avant. "The Mind-Body Experience" has so much more depth then the opener and so catchy. The depth is heard in the distortion, baritone sax, bass and harmonium. Male vocals before a minute. "Monsters" just grooves and talk about depth. Vocals and insane laughter ends it. "I'm Just Afraid" has the best vocal performance in my opinion by a male named Sacha Mullin. Incredibly smooth vocals, love his tone. Horns too. "Trying To Comfort Mary" is another amazing track. Male vocals, drums and guitar stand out. Just a great tune.

"Art Land" isn't quite as good as the four that proceed it but is a stripped down track done by a trio of vocals, guitar/bass and drums. "Last But Not Lost" is more avant, bassoon too. Intense with pounding drums as vocals come and go. Carla from SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM sings on here. "House Of Dowse" is hit and miss for me with those quickly strummed guitars, fast paced vocals and such. I like it better when it slows down after 3 minutes. "Caboose" is incredible after 2 minutes when the vocals step aside. So inventive sounding.

This was voted 9th best album for 2018 by the collaborators here.

 PoiL Ueda: Yoshitsune by POIL album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.08 | 4 ratings

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PoiL Ueda: Yoshitsune
PoiL RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TheEliteExtremophile

4 stars PoiL is back for a second round of collaboration with Japanese musician Junko Ueda. I thought their last album?PoiL Ueda, from March of this year?would simply be a quirky, one-off thing. I was certainly hoping for more, as my one real gripe about PoiL Ueda was that, at only 31 minutes, it felt kind of short. I really liked the madcap fusion of PoiL's avant-garde RIO stylings with Ueda's singular vocal style and sharply-plucked biwa.

Yo[&*!#]sune picks up where PoiL Ueda ended, both lyrically and musically. Taking place after the naval battle described on their last album in "Dan-no-Ura", this album tells the story of Minamoto no Yo[&*!#]sune, a military commander forced into exile.

The album opens with the three-part 13-minute "Kumo". It's got an eerie, unsettling feel, with biwa, distant vocals, and slow-swelling drums. The pace picks up, and soon it's a bizarre, jittery bit with rubbery bass and plinking guitar and biwa as the main elements. Ueda's voice is as striking as ever, and the musicianship is all top-notch. Things do feel less lush than on PoiL Ueda; keyboards are less prominent here. This decision works well though, as it allows the other elements room to breathe.

Around the midpoint of this suite, things slow down a bit. Oddball guitar chords, twangy biwa, and an unusual meter converge to create a distinctive, disorienting atmosphere. Ominous synth pads emerge as the guitar gains some grit, and the tension of Yo[&*!#]sune's flight from Tokyo is palpable. PoiL's backing vocals, serving as the voices of the ghosts pursuing Yo[&*!#]sune, add to the anxiety of it all.

"Omine-san" comes next, and it's a stark shift. "Kumo"'s conclusion is sudden and jarring, and this cut opens on a slow-moving, woozy guitar line. This song develops something of a ritualistic feel, aided by a steady drumbeat and distant chimes.

"Yoshino" opens with some biwa noodling and a distant, sinister synth growl. Momentum builds, and several competing high-energy instrumental lines converge into something twisting, unorthodox, and shockingly groovy. The energy ebbs and flows, and there's a sense of trepidation to much of this song. Synths finally gain some prominence here, and I love the textural variation they provide.

Next comes "Ataka", a solo performance by Ueda. The spare arrangement is attention-grabbing, and it's a great showcase of her biwa playing style. Despite being nearly five minutes long, this piece feels much shorter.

Yo[&*!#]sune ends on the two-part "Koko". A bubbling synth tone underpins Ueda's voice in the opening movement. The first half of this piece is dedicated primarily to a build-up of momentum. There's a sense of barely-restrained kinetic energy, and when it finally bursts free, it reminds me a lot of certain Between the Buried and Me songs, just non-metallic. The playing is technical, speedy, and absolutely dizzying. Everything converges into a beautiful maelstrom of rock instrumentation and Ueda's biwa and voice.

Yo[&*!#]sune is a fantastic record. In the months since PoiL Ueda has come out, I've found myself wanting more, and this delivers exactly what I was craving. It's cohesive, it's weird, and it's exciting.

Review originally posted here: theeliteextremophile.com/2023/11/06/album-review-poil-ueda-yo[&*!#]sune/

Data cached

RIO/Avant-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
16-17 Switzerland
1870 (MIL OCHOCIENTOS SETENTA) Mexico
LA 1919 Italy
3 MICE Multi-National
3 PRIMATES France
5UU'S United States
THE A BAND United Kingdom
A-MUSIK Japan
A.P.A.T.T. United Kingdom
ABSOLUTE ZERO United States
AD NAUSEAM United Kingdom
AFENGINN Denmark
AFTER DINNER Japan
AFUCHE United States
AHLEUCHATISTAS United States
AHVAK Israel
AIR CANDA Russia
AKINETÓN RETARD Chile
AKSAK MABOUL Belgium
ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT Finland
ALBOTH! Switzerland
TOM ALDRICH / ZOLDER ELLIPSIS Netherlands
ALEX'S HAND United States
ALFIE RYNER France
ALTERED STATES Japan
AMOEBIC ENSEMBLE United States
DIE ANARCHISTISCHE ABENDUNTERHALTUNG Belgium
ANATROFOBIA Italy
ANDREW MOORE'S CHAMBER WORKS United States
ANTHROPODS Austria
ÁPOLÓK Hungary
APPENDIX Slovakia
ARANIS Belgium
ARBETE OCH FRITID Sweden
THE ARCHESTRA Belarus
ARIA PRIMITIVA France
ARKTIS / AIR Austria
ARMON KUILU Finland
ARS DE ER Belarus
ART BEARS United Kingdom
ART FLEURY Italy
ART MOULU France
ART ZOYD France
THE ARTAUD BEATS United Kingdom
ARTERIA Mexico
ASCETA Chile
ATHANOR France
AUKTYON Russia
BABLICON United States
BALUNGAN Various
BANDA ELÁSTICA Mexico
ARRIGO BARNABÉ Brazil
BARNACLED United States
BARRICADE France
GRECO BASTIÁN Mexico
LES BATTERIES France
ROMAIN BAUDOIN France
BBP UNDERGROUND ORCHESTRA Czech Republic
BEGNAGRAD Yugoslavia
BOB BELL Canada
BIG BLOCK 454 United Kingdom
BIG FARM United States
BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC United States
BIRTHDAY ASS United States
BISE DE BUSE France
IVA BITTOVÁ Czech Republic
BLACK ENGINE Italy
BLACK MIDI United Kingdom
MICHEL BLANC France
BLAST Netherlands
BLITURI Canada
THE BLITZOIDS United States
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BLUEPRINT HUMAN BEING Finland
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BONE Multi-National
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BOSNNIA Argentina
BOX Multi-National
FRANÇOIS BREANT France
MARKO BRECELJ Yugoslavia
BREZNEV FUN CLUB Italy
BRIAN! United States
BROKEN.HEART.COLLECTOR Austria
HASSE BRUNIUSSON Sweden
BUILD United States
BULDOZER Yugoslavia
BZ BZ UEU Italy
ÇA France
DOS CAFUNDOS Brazil
CALOMITO Italy
THE CAMBERWELL NOW United Kingdom
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CARTEL CARNAGE France
CARTOON United States
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CATERPILLARMEN Iceland
CAZUELA DE CÔNDOR Chile
THE CELLAR AND POINT United States
CERBERUS SHOAL United States
CHAINSAW JAZZ United States
CHARMING HOSTESS United States
CHEER-ACCIDENT United States
CHĘNE NOIR France
GUIGOU CHENEVIER France
CHOCLAT FROG Germany
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CHROMB! France
CICALA-MVTA Japan
THE CLAUDIA QUINTET United States
A CLEAN KITCHEN IS A HAPPY KITCHEN Belgium
CLOUD BECOMES YOUR HAND United States
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JEAN COHEN-SOLAL France
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COMMUNIO MUSICA Denmark
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LINDSAY COOPER United Kingdom
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CREEDLE United States
CRO MAGNON Belgium
CAIO CSIZMAR Brazil
CTHULHU RISE Ukraine
CUCAMONGA Argentina
CUDŮ Italy
CULTO SIN NOMBRE Mexico
CURLEW United States
CUTLER AND FRITH United Kingdom
CHRIS CUTLER United Kingdom
RUBEN D'HERS Venezuela
DAIMON ORCHESTRA Japan
PATRICIA DALLIO France
DANISCO (FOR BEAUTY) France
DARRIFOURCQ HERMIA CECCALDI Various
DAS RAD United Kingdom
DATE COURSE PENTAGON ROYAL GARDEN Japan
DEADBURGER Italy
DEADLY ORGONE RADIATION Various
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DECIBEL Mexico
DEEP SWEDEN Czech Republic
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DANIEL DENIS Belgium
DESERTION TRIO United States
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DETIETI Russia
DEUS NUVEM Brazil
DIER Netherlands
DIRECTION SURVET France
DISCUS Indonesia
THE DISPLAY TEAM United Kingdom
DIZZYLUNA United States
DOCTOR NERVE United States
DON SALSA United States
BOB DRAKE United States
TOBY DRIVER United States
THE DRX United States
PASCAL DUFFARD France
JONATAN PIŃA DULUC Dominican Republic
DUMB WAITER United States
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TREVOR DUNN United States
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DUREFORSOG Denmark
THE DUSTMAN DILEMMA France
DYING GROUND Multi-National
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L' ENSEMBLE RAYÉ Switzerland
ENSEMBLE SUPERMUSIQUE Canada
EPN TRIO Argentina
EREHIA Mexico
ERTH Costa Rica
ESKALATION Germany
ESKIMO United States
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PAVEL FAJT Czech Republic
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FAT Canada
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UN FESTÍN SAGITAL Chile
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FIRE! Sweden
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FIVE-STOREY ENSEMBLE Belarus
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FORTRANGT HUSHALLSARBETE Sweden
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CHARLES HAYWARD United Kingdom
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HESUS ATTOR Croatia
HI-SPEED Japan
HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA Multi-National
HIKASHU Japan
ZACH HILL United States
TIM HODGKINSON United Kingdom
LARS HOLLMER Sweden
HONEY RIDE ME A GOAT United Kingdom
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HORSE LORDS United States
HOT FUR Israel
HÖYRY-KONE Finland
HUMBLE GRUMBLE Belgium
HUNK AI Denmark
HUNUNHUM Japan
HYRROKKIN United States
I AM ABOVE ON THE LEFT Russia
LES I France
ICSIS France
IDIOT FLESH United States
IMAHORITSUNEOYOSHIDATATSUYA Japan
IN LOVE WITH France
LA INCREÍBLE FUGA DE TRIÁNGULOS Argentina
INFANTEPHANT United States
L' INFONIE Canada
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INSONAR Italy
INTERFERENCE SARDINES Canada
INUS United States
IVOR AXEGLOVITCH Denmark
JACK DUPON France
CATHERINE JAUNIAUX Belgium
JEAN LOUIS France
JERSEYBAND United States
JIMI SUMÉN PROJEKT Finland
SCOTT JOHNSON United States
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LARS JONSSON Sweden
JORK Ireland
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JULVERNE Belgium
JUMP FOR JOY! Multi-National
JUNGLE Japan
JUSTINE Canada
KAADA & PATTON United States
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HOPPY KAMIYAMA Japan
KAPELA LA CHATELIER Slovenia
KAREN COOPER COMPLEX United States
KARENAUTAS Argentina
KARMIC JUGGERNAUT United States
KATRA TURANA Japan
KATZEN KAPELL Sweden
KAUHUKAKARA Multi-National
KAYO DOT United States
MIKE KENEALLY United States
KILLING TIME Japan
KILLSONG Australia
KLAXON GUEULE Canada
KLETKA RED Multi-National
KLIMPEREI France
THE KNELLS United States
DIE KNÖDEL Austria
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KOLKHÖZE PRINTANIUM France
KOMBINAT M Austria
KOMINTERN France
KOREKYOJINN Japan
KORMORANY Poland
KOROVA MILK BAR France
KOUMA France
KOUTUS Finland
KRALDJURSANSTALTEN Sweden
DAGMAR KRAUSE Germany
KROKO Finland
KRUZENSHTERN & PAROHOD Israel
KSIEZYC Poland
KUHA. Finland
KULTUR SHOCK Multi-National
KULU HATHA MAMNUA Switzerland
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THE KURWS Poland
LACRYMOSA Japan
LARSEN RUPIN Switzerland
LARVAL United States
LASK Germany
LAST EXIT United States
LEAN LEFT Multi-National
LED BIB United Kingdom
JOSÉ LUIS FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA Mexico
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A LIGHT SLEEPER United States
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MIRIODOR Canada
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MIZUTAMA SHOBODAN Japan
MMCIRCLE Canada
MOE! STAIANO / MOE!KESTRA! United States
MOMBU Italy
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MOTOR HUMMING Japan
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MPXXIV Switzerland
MR. BUNGLE United States
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THE MUFFIN MEN United Kingdom
LA MUJER BARBUDA Argentina
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NE ZHDALI Estonia
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NI Austria
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NOICE United States
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NOODBAND Netherlands
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NORMAL LOVE United States
NOUVELLES ETHNOLOGIQUES DE L'OBSCUR MUSEUM France
NOW WE'VE GOT MEMBERS Norway
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OGIVES Belgium
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PING Norway
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TEXTBOOK OF MODERN KARATE Italy
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