Noa — Noa
(Soleil Zeuhl 26, 1980/2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01The original release of this album from 1980 was not known to me until Soleil Zeuhl's reissue landed in front of me, but it's definitely not from lack of quality. This could be regarded as a lost classic of RIO, especially influenced by Henry Cow, but with a style more original than derivative. Singer Claudie Nicolas doesn't have the abrasive edge that has made Dagmar Krause infamous in prog circles, though she's not at all a staid operatic type. Aside from the vocals, the band consists of Alain Gaubert on guitars and basses, drummer Christian Robard (who adds xylophone and vibes), and two woodwind players. The prevalence of flute and soprano sax tends to lighten the sound, resulting in a very different mood than a band like Univers Zéro, which features cello and other lower-pitched instruments. There are moments of squawking on the saxes, but they're kept to brief sections. The guitar is generally undistorted, so even at times when the rhythms and chords would seem ominous, the mood is not that dark. During the instrumental sections, for example on "La Mer," the band often veers toward jazz, with a busy walking bass line and tasty cymbal work on the drums. Get that going on with both saxes blowing and you've got yourself a good time! Recommended for fans of RIO, and even for jazz-rock fans who don't like RIO (or don't know they like it yet).
Related artist(s): Noa
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more