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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roy Harper - The Unknown Soldier – Typically Roy Harper doesn't fall into a progressive rock vein, preferring to create an English version of Bob Dylan's never ending hippie dream. But in 1980 he amassed several friends whose...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues