Exposé Online banner

Noa — Noa
(Soleil Zeuhl 26, 1980/2011, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01

Noa Cover artThe 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).

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 40, 2011 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Noa

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Schwartzarbeit - James Gordon's Story – An entirely instrumental concept album about a burned out musician who spends his life indoors in boredom, and eventually works through it all with a fresh approach to his music. Not a very elaborate...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues